Hallmarked silver Art Deco powder compacts and cigarette cases are some of the most stylish to be seen. They are highly collectible and many could be said to be a good investment.
EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE DES ARTS DÉCORATIF PARIS 1925
Whilst the Art Deco style did not just appear in 1925, this is when the genre was celebrated at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratif in Paris, 1925. Certainly, it is possible to find vanities and cases which could only be described as Art Deco before this date. The transition from one style to another is a gradual process and many factors influence changing fashions. Economic, cultural and social conditions influence design, architecture and trends. While Art Nouveau was a reaction to the mechanisation of the work place, Art Deco was a reaction to the economic conditions created by The Great War. The austerity of the war years created a desire for luxurious surroundings, clothes and accessories. For many, the era was hedonistic and decadent. The Jazz Age and Art Deco style were a reaction to the deprivations that many endured during World War I. Art Deco architecture, accessories and clothes display the influence of the Cubist painters – Picasso, Braque, Mondrian and Dali to name a few. The travel that ensued after the war and exports from the Far East to Paris and London created a craze for Oriental and exotic designs. The word Japonism (from the French word Japonisme) is the influence of Japanese aesthetics, art and fashion on Western culture. The term usually refers to Japanese influence on European art. In France Japonisme referred to a style of French design found in the fine arts and it was a natural progression that this country’s master silversmiths would be inspired by this exotic theme to create the most coveted objet d’art. Eygptian, Indian, Persian and Mayan art inspired art and design.
The vanities and cases below are typical for the era.
This exquisitely beautiful and stylish Art Deco vanity was made by Victor Mayer, who was a Faberge workmaster. His firm was located in Pforzheim – the gateway to the Black Forest. This city is famous as centre of jewellery making, so much so, that it was known colloquially as Goldstadt (‘Golden City’). The name of Victor Mayer is well known for their luxurious ultra vanities, high end jewellery and the exceptionally skilled workmanship that we see in this adorable Art Deco powder compact.
This is an exceptionally rare and most likely a unique Art Deco Le Roy et Fils sterling silver ruby & gold powder compact. The maker of this fabulous Art Deco compact needs no introduction. However, they have such a wonderful history it is good to share it.
La Maison de Le Roy was founded in 1785 at Palais Royal and continued until the death of Charles-Louis Le Roy at Versailles in 1865. Le Roy et Fils premises can later be found at 13-15 Galerie Montpensier, Palais Royal, Paris when the Duc d’Orleans opened the Palais Royal gardens. In 1885 the London retail outlet of Le Roy et Fils was situated at 57 Bond Street, having moved the short distance from Regent Street.
The firms accolades include Master clockmaker to Napoleon, Princess Pauline & the Duc de Bourbon. Examples of their work is found in all the major collections as well as the Ministere de la Guerre, Paris. They are the only foreign clockmaker to hold a British Royal Warrant under Queen Victoria.
Bronze, Silver & Gold Medal winners at Paris.
Paris 1867– Medaille de Bronze
Paris 1878 – Medaille d’Argent
Paris 1889– Medaille d’Or
To find this exceptionally rare compact in the original signed case is a source of great joy for us and the new owner who resides in the U.S.A. The compact is made from sterling silver, set with high quality rubies in the most striking geometric Art Deco design & the mounts for the rubies are solid gold. The influence for this ultra vanity is Cubism & this piece simply could not be more Art Deco!
It is no exaggeration to say that this piece is an objet d’art. The geometric composition is not one we have seen on a vanity before. The sleek silver case perfectly well preserved & the ‘cold’ grey of the silver set off wonderfully by the ‘warm’ solid gold mounts which hold the glorious rubies. All clasps & hinges work perfectly – as you would expect this vanity has a spring loaded catch & it just glides open. Work of the highest standard – the base & sides have this striking geometric design perfectly matched – so too the thumb catch. The original sifter is in place. The bevelled mirror is very good & gives a clear reflection – it has a few subtle age spots.
Also we have to say that we have never seen a protective case bound with leather of this quality. This vanity is certainly in the league of Cartier & Boucheron. The master silversmith who made this for Le Roy et Fils is Lucien Patouillard.
MARK OF LUCIEN PATOUILLARD
As a response to the austerity that was seen during WWI the exhibits at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratif in Paris, 1925, represented the luxury market & a bold statement was being made that Paris was still the most stylish city in the world, the best perfumeries, the most stylish fashion, the most superbly wrought jewellery / jewelry in the world was often French made, not even WWI could destroy this!
The epitome of Art Deco design and extravagance, Asprey & Co sterling silver, rose gold, emerald and diamond loose powder compact.
A unique high quality powder bowl in the original presentation box, commissioned by Mappin & Webb in 1922. This superb antique powder compact is signed “MAPPIN & WEBB LTD”. It is fully hallmarked “G W L & CO ( G W Lewis & Co.), anchor (assayed at Birmingham) lion passant (sterling silver) date year X (1922)”. The beautiful lid has the most gorgeous and subtle cream guilloche enamel which is without losses or fading. The enamel is an even colour. Set atop, an impressive lapis lazuli cabochon. The beautiful down puff is pristine and unused. It has a celluloid ring attached to a blue silk backing. The ancient crimson presentation case is in remarkably good condition. The lid bears the royal coat of arms and reads as follows “MAPPIN & WEBB LTD. (MAPPIN BROS INCORPORATED) Diamond Merchants & Art Jewellers, LONDON, W.” An ancient piece of tissue paper still inside the case. Measures almost 5 cm & weighs 51.3 grams.
A unique & very fine antique eggshell & lacquer cigarette case in superb condition. A piece of the highest quality with lacquered eggshell corners, the most gorgeous black lacquer & an oriental inlaid silver motif. A stunning addition for the serious collector of Art Deco. Eggshell cases are extremely rare – no two alike & command large sums.
Mappin & Webb is one of the world’s most famous luxury brands. The firm was founded in 1775 and it has held Royal Warrants to British monarchs since 1897. Their master craftsman, Martin Swift, is the current Crown Jeweller to the British royal family. This fabulous signed sterling silver Art Deco Mappin & Webb powder compact combines the most stylish era in history with the Mappin & Webb reputation for elegance. This piece is extremely rare and not one we have seen before. The vermeil powder well is signed ‘MAPPIN & WEBB LTD LONDON’. The hallmarks are clear and unworn. It is easy to see the maker’s mark, Birmingham Assay, date year L (1935) and also the rare hallmark commemorating the Silver Jubilee of King George V.
The whole compact is decorated with a complex engine turned design which prevents the appearance of fingerprints. The lid is engraved with the classic Art Deco motifs of three highly stylized skyscrapers. The bottom of the lid curves neatly around the base. The design of this vanity is unique to this maker. It is known as the ‘Simplette’. The interior bears the model name ‘SIMPLETTE’. Not only is the outer case sleek and elegant but the compact is fitted with a spring release mechanism which ensures that the case glides open perfectly each time the button is pushed. The gold plated interior is in super condition, as is the whole item. The base, just like lid is engraved & has a contrasting smooth silver border.
La Maison Boucheron was founded by Frederic Boucheron. 1858 saw the opening of his first store in the Galerie de Valois, at Palais-Royal. Atelier Boucheron was created in 1866 and such was the supreme skill and artistry that La Maison Boucheron won the Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle (1867).
In 1893, Frédéric Boucheron became the first jeweller to move to Place Vendôme. 26 Place Vendôme is still the location of the Boucheron flagship store. Boucheron is a luxury jeweller and retailer noted for some of the most extravagant creations commissioned by royalty throughout the world.
This Art Deco sterling silver & gold cigarette case is what you would expect from this maker – luxurious, sleek, elegant & stylish. The lid, sides and base have bold linear engine turned designs and they are fully hallmarked. As you will be able to see the lid is adorned with gold which provides a beautiful warm contrast to the high grade silver. The case is signed ‘BOUCHERON PARIS’ with the serial number 79272. Push the thumb catch and the case glides open to reveal a satinized interior which is large enough for cigarettes, business and credit cards. Measures 13 cm X 8.2 cm & weighs 178.9 grams.