Love is in the air...certainly around the 2nd quarter of the 18th century.
Presenting something different from The Three Graces to you, here is a superb mother-of-pearl patch box complete with a miniature portrait, hand-engraved designs, and silver gilt decorative face and reverse.
In the interior lid is framed a charming portrait miniature painting on card, parchment, or paper. A loving couple is depicted both playing instruments, a viol, and a lute. Before them is an open book of music; their joy is evident.
In their period dress, the watercolor and gouache colors remain vivid and crisp. Colors include rose pink, cerulean blue, earthy tan, ochre, ebon black, and ivory white with flesh tones that are set against a gray-blue background.
The frame of silver gilt shows eight cartouches of raised scrolling and leaf patterns. In typical Rococo fashion, the box is also curvaceous and shaped.
To the exterior lid, silver gilt appliques depict a love scene. A frolicking dog (for loyalty), cupid or Eros playing the flute, two mated swans, and a woman's face above the tableau, intertwine with leaves, grasses, and ornate designs. At each corner are incised, carved embellishments.
On the back, another scene shows the two mated swans or birds with a shell above and intricate silver work. Around the exterior, hand carved into the mother of pearl are flowers and patterns.
The side edges of the box portray a castle, towers, flowers, and a swan. The corners have dotted diamond checkerboards. A masterful patch or mouche box. Rare and exquisite.
Note: The Rococo period in European spanned the years from around 1730-1770. As with all movements, it influenced every aspect of design including architecture, art, literature, music, adornment, furniture, dress, and thought.
It is notable for its curves and counter curves, lightness of design, shells, and natural forms and shapes. The word Rococo derives from the French, rocaille, meaning shell, lifted from the rock-encrusted grottos.
The painters, Watteau and Fragonard come to mind. In Germany, the Amalienburg building, in Nymphenburg park, is considered a high point of the architecture of the period.
For a similar box, Google the Louis Tocqué painting, a Mouche: A lady at her toilet. In her hand she clasps a similar patch box.