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Bonbonniere "The Merchant of Love" circa 1780-90


Maker(s):  PROBABLY BY A MEMBER OF THE BELLETESTE FAMILY
Date: circa 1780-90
Materials/Techniques:    Ivory, tortoiseshell lining
Dimensions:
Origin: DIEPPE, FRANCE
Inventory #: 583
Inscription:
Inscribed in black ink "LA MARCHAND D'AMOUR"
Other:


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P.W. Hartmann, op. cit. pp. 162 & 165 illustrates several similarly carved circular boxes, all depicting scenes of, or relating to, romance, courtship and love, and attributed to either just "Dieppe" or to the master Dieppe carver Jean-Antoine Belleteste. The subject of the "Merchant of Love", also known as the "Sale of Cupids" is based on an antique fresco discovered at Herculaneum in 1759. It was a theme that can be found from time to time in various aspects of the decorative arts. One example is a rock crystal intaglio with the identical scene in the collection of the British Museum, London. Further ivory boxes, carved with the same intricacy, and from the museum of Dieppe, are illustrated by Tardy, op.cit. pp. 152-154.


PROVENANCE:
Martin and Pauline Alexander Collection Of French Decorative Arts

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
P.W. Hartmann, 
ElfenbeinKunst, 1998-1999.

Tardy, Les Ivoires, Paris, 1966.