An ivory box, circa 1793, the year of the death of both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, set with a seditious tableau, no doubt commissioned by a royalist supporter as a means of covertly paying tribute to the royal family without fear of reprisal. The lid is set with a microscopic ivory carving of the tomb of Louis XVI, on a cobalt blue glass ground and under crystal. The tomb is inscribed in tiny, almost illegible script: Dom. Amor Antoinette Louis XVI and XVII subject of my love and sorrow. Innocuous at first glance, the weeping willow tree hides with optical effect the profiles of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Madame Elisabeth and the Dauphin. A serpent, symbolising death and renewal, slithers up the tree. On the left hand side in a wooded glade is a funeral obelisk. According to a card found inside the box it was offered to Mrs Eugenie du Luynes by Baroness Lachance. The box is one inch tall with a diameter of 3 and 1/8 inches. Virtuoso micro-ivory carving of scarcely believable intricacy, unable ever able to be replicated.
The card found within the box
A seditious engraving of the tomb of Louis XVI