Ballooning interest: A Louis XVI vari-coloured gold snuff box, by Charles-Alexandre Bouillerot, with the charge and discharge marks of Henri Clavel, Paris 1784,

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Lot 2
Ballooning interest: A Louis XVI vari-coloured gold snuff box,
by Charles-Alexandre Bouillerot, with the charge and discharge marks of Henri Clavel, Paris 1784,

Sold for £ 14,400 (US$ 19,801) inc. premium
Ballooning interest: A Louis XVI vari-coloured gold snuff box,
by Charles-Alexandre Bouillerot, with the charge and discharge marks of Henri Clavel, Paris 1784,
the ovoid cover with a four colour gold relief of the ascent of the Charles & Robert gas balloon from the Tuilleries garden with a globe to the foreground within a ropetwist frame flanked by linear and quatrefoil engraved panels with a relief three-colour border of bell husks and laurel leaves on a matted ground, the rim with similar border and the sides with linear and quatrefoil panels separated by laurel pilasters above a guilloche band, the base decorated ensuite around a rayed disc, height 2.7cm, length 8.3cm, weight 136gms.

Footnotes

  • The Montgolfier brothers set off a mania for ballooning with their first demonstration of a balloon flight in June 1783, with the first manned flight being undertaken on 21st November of the same year. Ten days after the Montgolfier manned ascent, Professor Charles and Marie-Noel Robert took off from the Tuileries gardens in their hydrogen-gas ballon watched by half of Paris (nearly 400 000 people). After a sharp ascent rising about 1800 feet in several minutes, they flew 27 miles in two hours, with a safe landing near the town of Nesles. Artists and goldsmiths reacted swiftly to the new mania producing a wide variety of commemorative souvenirs from simple printed fans through medals to elaborate and fine gold boxes.

    The balloon shown on the present lot has the distinctive yellow and red rubberised silk gores within a net from which the car was supported. The gardens below are a rather simplified view of the Tuilleries. The globe to the forefront is probably a reference to a popular song at the time: "Le Globe des Tuilleries, ou le char volant sur l'air: l'aimite vive et pure."
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