Oval, 92 × 73mm (3˝ × 3in); oil on tinned iron; 13 mica talc; some wear to edges of mica ‘talcs’ and some minor chipping, nevertheless in very good original state, set in original decorated leather case, the hinged lid with two hook clasps and clip.
The mask overlays provide an interesting and diverse selection of manners, customs, costumes and garb. 1) a Marshal in red plush and fur costume with a baton in hand; 2) a lady with black costume with ermine trimming with a ruff and pendant jewellery; 3) a dried fruit seller in a red costume wide ruff and on her head a woven basket with produce; 4) a officer with yellow silk jacket with red band holding a purple cloak with a bicorn hat decorated with a red feather; 5) a wedding dress 6) a red bodice, lace trimmed muslin jacket and lace headwear; 7) a gentleman in a black velvet tunic with red buttons and a felt hat trimmed in red; 8) a nun wearing a black habit; 9) a cardinal in red with a square cap; a merchant in a red jacket over a purple vest wearing an elaborate fur hat; 10)a lady with a purple cloak with fur trimming with a jewelled single clasp and fine muslin head-dress;11) a merchants wife with deep ruff black dress and curly red hair; 12) a lady in a white pleated muslin dress and elaborate headwear whit a fur stole over her shoulders; and 13) a young lady in a pink dress white muslin bodice wearing a wide brim straw hat decorated with a garland of flowers.
A very small number of miniatures of this type and similar date are known, in French and Swedish museums, with portraits resembling Christine, Queen of Sweden. As this kind of toy was extremely expensive at the time, due to the price of mica, it did not have a very long life span in the seventeenth century. Nevertheless the concept was used again towards the end of the century with masks made of paperboard. The earlier mica versions, however, were of a much better quality and clarity, and therefore are much more desirable and sort after.


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