FRENCH, PARIS OR DIJON, 1619
DOUBLE SIDED CASE FOR MINIATURES
signed with a monogram: PM and inscribed with two love poems, and with monograms to the inside: FPMS and with the ferme-S four times on each side
7.5 by 4.8 by 2.6cm., 3 by 1⅞ by 1in.
Overall the condition of the silver is good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. The silver has been scratched for testing in a few areas to: the exterior of the cover with blindfolded putto and to both sides of the interior matrix. There are minor scratches and abrasions including to the edges. There is a possible very small loss to the interior edge of one of the lids.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This superb and very rare double sided miniature case is decorated with the finest engraving of the period. Exceptionally it is signed PM by the master French engraver Philippe Millot and dated 1619. The same monogram, alongside the artists name and similar mythological depictions, as well as the ferme-S motif (suggesting fidelity), appears on a print dated 12 September 1610 in the Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna (MAK; inv. no. Kl1-611). The decoration on the locket includes Cupid holding Jupiter's thunderbolt and the figures of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Neptune, subjected to the bolts of love, all within within very finely executed Renaissance scrollwork, and also includes the following poem dated 1619:
Ces amour tout divin enflame
Par la sagesse et le travail
Les coeurs purs a celeste flame
Terrassant lamour animal
Amour des elemens le Maistre
Soubs le nom seinct de Dieulx faict voir
Que tout ce que ton voit en estre
Subsiste de par son Pouvoir
A reference in the online French national archives MC/ET/XI/150 dated 1647 is likely related to the engraver, recording Philippe Millot, master engraver of Dijon, staying in Paris at the premises of Pierre Belon, clock maker to the Queen, Anne of Austria. The present lot would have been a luxe object for the displaying of portrait miniatures and was undoubtedly owned by a leading member of the French Court.
D. Guilmard, Les Maistres Ornemanistes, 1880, p.38, no.9; P. Führing and M. Bimbenet-Privat, 'Le style cosses de pois', Gazette des Beaux Arts, January 2002, vol.144, p.11