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This is a rather charming schraubtaler (screw-thaler) made from an Austrian silver thaler of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor. It opens to reveal two hand-painted watercolours on vellum, of a nobleman and lady. These are stuck on the inside of the silver case (and do not move free). Inside the case are twelve mica (known as 'Talcs') hand-painted with a variety of costumes and fashions. Mica overlays like these first appeared in the mid-seventeenth century as a form of entertainment and continued on into the early 1800s. The portraits were often of royalty, mostly female, and it was not uncommon for overlays of both female and male costuming to be included with the female portraits. Because of the fragile nature of the mica, very few of these transformation games have survived. See P.43 to S-1921 (in the V&A) as well as RCIN 422348 in the Royal Collection Trust. Bonhams LOT 145 for three mica overlays as description. A very rare object with a good number of the original mica overlays.
OBJECT: Schraubtaler portrait miniature with mica overlays
DATE: c. 18th century A.D.
MATERIAL: Silver, vellum, and mica
SIZE: 41.19mm x 2.89mm (mica 36.91mm)
WEIGHT: 12.49 grams
PROVENANCE: Formerly the property of a collector, Málaga, Spain.