A Simple Antique Treasure - Portrait Miniature of a Spaniel Box
A portrait miniature of a spaniel comprises almost the entire the lid of this exquisite box rendered in watercolor on ivory. Undeniably an artist's personal expression of this wonderful red-brown dog with tendrils of his curly ruff and an expectant and longing look in his eyes. The background awash with hues of pink and azure is the perfect display as the pup is posed on a table covered with a cloth of crimson red. The surface of the box is as smooth as a fragment of rare and precious silk, the edges sensuously rounded; crafted of authentic tortoise shell so darkened and thickened by the passage of time and the caress of every touch. In a few places around the inner rim you can actually see the variegated hues of nature. Both the rim and the hinge are of rose gold. Now lost to time, modern artists do not even know the secret to slicing the ivory so thin or to preparing its oily surface to accept the subtleties of watercolor.
The box measures 2-1/2 inches wide by 2-3/8 inches high by 1 inch thick. The nearly flawless miniature, covered by glass, is quite large at 1-3/4 inches wide and 2-3/8 inches high; a small surface mark runs through a portion of bottom at left and visible only with magnification; not a fissure, just a surface mark that does not remove any color. Of note are the concave lip edges which are part of the design where the box lid comes together. Otherwise very light wear. Dates to circa 1860-1870 and Victorian; most likely English in origin.