Art nouveau, Arts and crafts
This has to be one of the most extraordinary pieces in the entire Collection. It is a plique a jour (transparent) enamel buckle. Plique a jour being a very delicate form of enamel, it is simply crazy to make a buckle using the technique. Certainly this is the only one I have ever seen and, incredibly, it is in excellent condition with near perfect enamels and no losses.
The depiction of the buckle is also very unusual. It is a take on the famous French story of the clown Pierrot. In this case he is, classically, pursuing his amor, Columbine, looked upon by the moon (in fact two moons, one above the buckle surround, one within the buckle design).
The buckle carries (tiny) French silver marks (I think boar’s head for 800 silver) and makers mark for Victor Boivin. Victor being the highly regarded silversmith, with the more famous brother Rene, who’s business under the stewardship of his wife Jeanne employed designers like Suzanne Belperron in the inter-war period. This piece dates to c 1900. Victor Boivin succeeded his father, Jules Boivin in 1881. The Boivin firm received medals at the Universal Expositions of 1867 and 1889 – gold, silver and honourable mention.
Maker: Victor Boivin
Designer: Victor Boivin
Date: c 1900
Marks: VB, Probably boar’s head assay mark
Material: 800 silver, enamel
Condition: Excellent – some (firing?) cracks to enamels
Size: 10.0 cm long x 6.75cm wide
Weight : 58 grams, 2.0 oz