Based on it's size, structural details and decorative elements, I estimate the age to be late Victorian era to the turn of the 1900's, that is, I don't believe it's any newer than that. Stuffed with tissue, this purse measures 6 inches in total height by 7½ in width and has an outer border of ¾ of an inch. This exquisite evening handbag is completely embroidered in the beloved satin or damask stitch, one of the oldest stitches from centuries past. I must say that this is the most superb piece of workmanship on a purse that I have ever seen. There is nothing I have found to compare it to, it surely is the only one in existence. The stitches are so precise and delicately refined, with a depth of expression that is incomparable. The front of the purse has a figural scene that is the perfect blend of subtle romance, mystery and architectural splendor. The color palette is simply divine and the precision of the facial features is liken to a museum quality oil painting.
The central theme is surrounded by a latticed border which adds tremendous depth to the landscape. The stitches overlap each other and the pastel flowers are presented as if they are actually growing on top the lattice. It is a striking display, very eye catching and visually appealing. I am so utterly awestruck by this purse, it's hard for me to imagine the extraordinary talent it took to bring it to this state of completion. I have examined this handbag very closely, under a magnifier several times, I find not one missed stitched nor a single flaw, it was meticulously executed by a master needle worker of great patience and endurance.
The backside of the purse is as distinguished as the front, having the same dramatic scenery and hardscape masonry. The countryside setting and architectural features are a study within themselves, possessing a gravity that will pull you into the picture, sparking your every imagination. Since this masterpiece is rich in color, there is little background tone on this purse, mostly just on the outer border, which is a bright tan beige. You'll notice that the flowers appear to be growing up onto it, tactfully edging the trellis border.
There is a tiny bright spot above the staircase but it is not there nor is it found under magnification. The silk stitches have somewhat of a sheen, so I believe this is a speck of reflection, there is no missing stitch nor any other defect. The satin stitches are especially snug together and are considered shorter stitches, all contributing to the cleverly defined characteristics of this superior artifact. The golden frame is most worthy to crown this elegant one-of-a-kind work of art. The quality of the metal work is far above other frames classically seen on purses. I should have this frame tested because it looks gold or gold gilded to my eyes. In the close-up photo, toward the center of the frame, it appears to have a tad bit of tarnish in the deeper crevices, but in actuality, this is not obviously recognizable.
I counted nearly 80 blue stones embedded into the frame with tiny metal pieces that seem to hold them in place. These little metal protrusions are part of the frame so I don't know how these stones were originally set in but I can attest to the overall exceptional quality of the workmanship. In addition to the multi faceted blue stones, there is a scattering of ruby colored cabochons and 2 pieces of set in thin glass shards at the very outer ends of the frame inside the pierced opening, hard to notice, I almost missed it. During my inspection with the magnifier, I found one chip on a blue stone, possibly a manufacturing flaw.
The carry chain is vibrantly golden and as ornamental as the remainder of the purse, very detailed and French looking. I apologize for not including a photo of the chain handle but you won't be disappointed in it. The purse and the lining are rather snug to the frame, so I have not found any markings but I am confident to say that this must be a European purse, most likely made in France. This purse was purchased at an estate auction, it had been packed away since it was made and had not seen the light of day for many decades. As a result, there is a small crease, as shown, in the very bottom outer perimeter of the purse, caused from being in storage. The purse suffers nothing from this and with proper tissue stuffing, should flattened out in time. The original pink salmon faille lining looks as new, save for a faint finger print, at the upper edge, barely detectable, perhaps from minor handling. This purse is very clean, basically spotless and requires nothing but it's next owner to love and cherish it for another 100 or more years. Again, I state emphatically, this will likely be the best satin stitched purse you will ever see.
Item 1-415 C This
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