Antique Enamel Cherub Vinaigrette Pendant
Used around the time of Elizabeth I and well though the early 19th century, the vinaigrette is typically a small container with a hinged lid which when opened reveals a hinged grill with pierced openings. Underneath the grill a small sponge soaked in a sweet smelling substance or aromatic vinegar (hence the name) would be placed. Used by both ladies and gentlemen until becoming an almost exclusive female accessory around 1820 the vinaigrette functioned akin to a personal air freshener in an attempt to ameliorate the less than fragrant environmental odors of the times. The piece was carried in the pocket or reticule (purse or handbag) or suspended from a chatelaine at the waist.
A large egg shaped vinaigrette of silver gilt displays a series exceptional hand painted polychromatic enamel images on surface of both the top and bottom sections. Beautifully rendered in lush colors including French blue, gold and carnelian red, two portraits of winged cherubs and two classical poses of women, one of whom appears to be painting while reclining and the other playing a lyre. The hinged top opens to reveal a round removable elaborately pierced floral design with engraved details. The piece is possibly the work of Viennese artist Ludwig Politzer and is the perfect size for a stunning pendant. A perfect size for a pendant.
Date: Circa 1900.
Measurements: 5-15/16 inches (4.9 cm) in total length by 1 inch (2.5 cm) at the widest. Weight of 23.8 grams (15.3 dwt).
Hallmarks: Several European hallmarks; maker's mark, LP.
Condition: Excellent; very slight line through left edge of one cherub which appears to be part of the enamel and only visible with magnification.
Origin: European, possibly Austrian.
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