Vanity Set (Nécessaire)

Vanity Set (Nécessaire)

c. 1760

manner of James Barbot

(British)

Gold, agate, interior fitted with implements, mirror

Overall: 5.5 x 4.5 x 3.9 cm (2 3/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 9/16 in.)

Gift of Howard F. Stirn 2009.57

Did you know?

This small box with a mirror-lined lid is a dressing table accessory for travel that contains luxury objects such a clasp knife, tweezers, manicure set, and scent bottles.

Description

Luxurious personal objects were an essential part of a privileged wardrobe during the 1700s and early 1800s, emphasizing their owner’s refinement and wealth. Jewelry, miniatures, and nécessaires—small expensive sets designed to hold grooming, writing, and sewing tools—were often given as intimate gifts, intended to be seen and admired. Their glittering surfaces, however, disguised a system based on the labor and suffering of enslaved or indentured people, whether in gold and stone mines or shops where these goods were made.

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