Jason Clarke Antiques

French Napoleon III Ladies Perfume Case or Cave a Parfum


For sale, a French Napoleon III ladies perfume case or cave a odeurs or cave a parfum.

Comprised of a hinged mahogany box with working lock and key and shield motifs to the lid and the escutcheon, the interior lid of the case has green and gilt tooled leather surround with the base embellished with tooled star motifs. The base is fitted to hold three glass perfume bottles and it comes complete with its original silver funnel.

The beautiful tear drop shaped bottles have a scalloped finish around their edges with silver screw tops over glass stoppers all of which are damage free.

After the devastation of the Napoleonic wars in France, the perfume industry recovered steadily throughout the Nineteenth Century until it’s rationalisation in the 1880’s. At this period, retailers and perfume houses began grouping products under certain brand names in a way that we might recognise more fully today. Until this point, perfume houses would sell their fragrances in designated shops and the cave a odeurs was a popular way in which to house their products to enable wealthy or aristocratic customers to choose certain scents and also purchase the case according to their taste. It is suggested that the cases were often more profitable than the product that it contained but it would then give the customer a means in which to return and refill their cases as soon as they were spent.

This fabulous and complete example has its contents remaining but the stoppers are quite tight so I have not attempted to remove them to guage the originality of the contents.

A very complete and luxurious set in very good order.

Circa 1860

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