Sunday, January 9, 2011
AN UNUSUAL FIND
I recently stumbled upon this rather unusual keepsake at a neighborhood antique store, and after some minor haggling over price, I purchased it for a bit more than I wanted to pay. What attracted me were its unusual markings, superb craftsmanship, and seductive aura of weirdness. How could one resist such a combo? Its intimate size (three and three quarters by three and an eighth by one half inch) and rich patina of age make this object even more mysterious. Seemingly it was not meant for hanging, as its sides and back are lovingly tooled leather and gold leaf, with tiny side medallions that pin leather and frame together. Is it a nineteenth century funerary portrait that has been altered (defaced or enriched, depending on one's point of view) by some unknown person (a disgruntled wife) or entity? And who was this man with hand-tinted rouged cheeks and menacing embellishments? If anyone has any ideas about this object's history or use, please write me via my blog.