Sevres-style Handpainted Box

Value (2006) | $8,000 Retail$12,000 Retail

This was my great-grandmother's originally, and it was presented to her in 1953. I just remember it growing up on my grandmother's counter and it was her treasure chest. Then we inherited it when she passed away.

Okay, and do you have any sense of where it was made, when it was made?

Well, as a kid I thought they said it was French. Um, and that it was a couple hundred years old.


I think that's what they look like in the pictures. So, I really don't know. I'm guessing it's at least 53 or 56 years old.

Okay, well, it is porcelain. And it's completely hand-painted. All of the design on the top, these two couples at an evening party in 18th century French-style dress-- is completely hand-painted. Then we have this wonderful hand-applied raised gold surface on the top. It's very intricate, with birds and a crowned fleur-de-lis. There's a lion's head. And then all kinds of grapes and vines and so forth. We've got hand-painted scenes on the front down here below. And then on the sides, if we turn it around there's different hand- painted scenes on the sides. Now, there's a mark on the underside and we can look at that. Let's turn it over like this very carefully. And we see that there's a hand-painted blue mark with an "F" inside of it. And that is the mark traditionally of the Sèvres factory in France. However, I've got some bad news for you. It's not actually made by the Sèvres factory.

What are those marks there?

When it was fired, there would have been little bits of porcelain that would have stuck down from the firing, and they would have ground down the little bits of rough porcelain so that it would sit perfectly flat. So that was just part of the manufacturing process. There's also an interesting label here on the underside that has a printed description which may have been from an auction at some point, is my guess. The mark on the underside has a date, and that would indicate that it was made in the mid-18th century, which would be about 250 years old. But actually, it's about 100 years old. It was made by an unknown factory in France and by and unknown artist, but still very high quality. And we see boxes like this, but they're usually much smaller. We see lots of little ring boxes. We see larger ones-- jewelry caskets-- and they all have these Sevres marks. As recently as, perhaps, 30 years ago, almost everyone thought that these were made by the Sèvres factory. But, with modern scholarship, we now know that they are more like around 100 years old.


Despite giving you the bad news that it has a fake Sèvres mark, and it's really not Sèvres, it still has very good value. A retail price would probably fall somewhere between $8,000 and $12,000. It is the largest Sèvres-style box that we have ever seen.


So that's a pretty good price for a fake, so to speak, isn't it?

Absolutely. It will remain in the house, and it has a new story.

Appraisal Details

David Lackey Antiques & Art
Houston, TX
Appraised value (2006)
$8,000 Retail$12,000 Retail
Tucson, AZ (June 17, 2006)

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