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This is a masterpiece of Renaissance silversmith art, an exquisitely crafted book-shaped filigree case. The workmanship is breathtaking in its detail and imagination. Every part of the case has been decorated, designed to hang on a girdle and to be seen. The filigree decoration is in solid gold wire, laid onto silver which has oxidized black. Such a case would have been used to hold valuable spices, gems or relics. Slightly larger examples in gold and enamel were used to house prayer books, this was seen as a highly sophisticated and fashionable accessory for a Tudor period noblewoman to wear. In this case even the pages of the book are engraved for effect on the sides, with a pair of hands securing the lid. It is intact with some wear to the gilding, commensurate with age. An interesting and very collectible piece of jewellers art.
OBJECT: Girdle Book Case
DATE: c. 16th - 17th century
MATERIAL: Silver-gilt & gold
SIZE: 51mm x 43mm x 15mm
WEIGHT: 52.5 grams
PROVENANCE: Formerly the property of an Edinburgh gentleman