A little wonder
A boxwood carving on a microscopic scale, set to a gold, silver and rose-cut diamond French brooch, circa 1780 -1800. Boxwood, which has a fine grain and high density, made it an eminently suitable medium for miniature carving. This carving is produced from a single boxwood fragment, incorporating pins smaller than a grass seed that hold the pieces together. Microscopic boxwood carvings for use in jewellery or to ornament box lids were the speciality of a craftsman of Italian origin, Guiseppe-Maria Bonzanigo (1745-1820) and his pupils. Jewels like this, in a setting of French manufacture, make it possible that Bonzanigo worked in France. This carving is probably by the hand of Tanadei, a pupil of Bonzagnio’s, who specialised in carving such tiny flowers. The subject, a faithful hound and two love birds, is an allegory of love and fidelity. The brooch measures 1 and 1/8 inches by one inch and the boxwood caving is set under crystal. Virtuoso carving on a miniature scale, it is not surprising they were called ‘little wonders’.
Similar boxwood carvings in Elfenbein Kunst