The placement of the balance to the movement’s top plate allows for the addition of the enamel portrait plaque to the backplate. A similar watch by De Charmes is known (Jonathan Snellenberg’s catalogue, April 1997) which shows a nearly identical portrait thought to be of the Duchesse de Fontanges (1660-1681), mistress of Louis XIV. The lady has much the same dress and hair style, the significant difference being that the hair has a ribbon omitted in the present portrait, tied on the left-hand side. It is said that the Duchesse – who was considered a great beauty - tied the ribbon in her hair after she lost her hat whilst riding and that, thereafter, the ladies of the court wore their hair up, tied with a fontange, this fashion spreading to England.
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