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A magnificent set: Queen Anne's exquisite tortoise shell and gold book box,
containing a prayer book in an ornate jewelled binding

[Gold and tortoise shell book-shaped box made for Queen Anne of Great Britain].
[Portugal?], [ca. 1702?]. Ca. 15.5 x 12 x 5.5 cm.
With: (2) [JEWELLED BINDING - FRENCH PRAYER BOOK]. La journée du chrétien, sanctifiée par la prière et la méditation.
Lyon and Paris, Librairie Catholique de Perisse frères, 1844.16mo. Binding: ca. 11 x 7 x 2.5 cm. With a small printer's device on the title page. 17th-century elaborately jewelled and decorated gilt silver binding with a gilt silver imperial double-headed eagle and two hands holding a heart centre piece, below Jesus on the cross (with an added skull and bones at the foot of the cross) and ornamental gilt silver corner pieces connected to the gilt silver board edge fittings on both boards. The whole is set with numerous jewels (amethysts, garnets, turquoise, and (simulated) sapphires). With two jewelled clasps closing on pegs in the fore edge of the front board, gilt edges, red velvet paste-downs and blue silk flyleaves backed with paper.
Early 18th-century, possibly Portuguese, tortoise shell box, with elaborate gold filigree rococo decorations: birds and foliage within a floral frame on the front and back "boards" with gold filigree decorated fastenings around the "fore edge", complete with: 2 catch plates, 2 anchor plates and 2 clasps. The "spine" is divided into 4 compartments, separated by gold filigree decorative horizontal strips, with a gold engraved plaque in the 2nd compartment reading in a banner "BY ME KINGS REIGNE" and below "ANNE [a crown] REGINA" and a filigree basket of flowers in the 1st, 3rd and 4th compartments. The edges are embossed and covered in fine gold foil. The inside of the box is covered in red velvet and the front "board" is, once the box is open, connected to the outer corners of the "fore edge" by fine gold chains. Ad 2: VIII, 524, [5], [3 blank] pp.
€ 97,500
A unique, exquisitely decorative, tortoise shell and gold book box, made for and given to Queen Anne of Great Britain. Together with a magnificent, eye-catching jewelled binding containing a French prayer book.
Ad 1: The book-shaped box was made especially for Queen Anne (1665-1714) early in her reign (ca. 1702), possibly in Portugal. She succeeded her brother-in-law King William III of Orange as sovereign of England Scotland and Ireland in 1702 and from 1707 until her death, she was known as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. A tipped in note (not present here) stated that Henrietta M.S. Stuart received this box as a gift from her husband William Stuart for their 31st wedding anniversary on 9 August 1852. Queen Anne was the last Stuart monarch and the present box apparently remained in the Stuart family until well into the 19th century.
It later became part of the impressive book historical collection of Cornelius John Hauck (1893-1967), an American bibliophile. His collection was sold by Christie's in New York in 2008 and this unique box appeared again at auction in 2021.
Ad 2: A beautiful and fabulously ornate jewelled 17th-century binding, its boards, spine and clasps adorned with turquoises, amethysts, garnets, and (simulated) sapphires. It contains a popular French prayerbook entitled La journée du chrétien, which was added long after the completion of the binding itself. The prayerbook, published in numerous editions during the 19th century, is reminiscent of medieval and early modern books of hours. The work specifies the daily duties of Christians and includes devotional prayers.
It was for a long time part of the collection of the princes and rulers of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in what is now southwestern Germany. Their collection was exhibited in the Städel museum in Frankfurt in 1928 and the present binding is listed in the exhibition catalogue. The French prayer book was at one time part of the collection of the Stadtbibliothek Frankfurt, according to the blue stamp on the verso of the title page. The whole - binding and prayer book - were part of Cornelius John Hauck's bibliophile collection during the second half of the 20th century, which subsequently appeared at Christie's auction house New York in 2008. It appeared again at auction in 2020.
From the collection of Cornelius J. Hauck. The inside of the box (ad 1) shows some signs of use: some parts of the velvet are slightly crushed and the lower chain has been detached from the "fore-edge" of the box, though still connected to the inside corner of the "front board". The book (ad 2) with Cornelius J. Haucks bookplate on the verso of the first flyleaf, and a blue stamp of the "Stadtbibliothek Frankfurt am Main" on the back of the title page. With very slight foxing and stains in the gutter of the first few leaves, a brown stain in the gutter of pp. 24-27, and the Stadtbibliothek stamp bleeds through a bit to the title-page: otherwise internally fine and clean. Both the tortoise shell box and the jewelled binding are exquisitely decorated and overall in very good condition. Ad 2: WorldCat 467731356 (1 copy, BnF).
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Art & architecture  >  Art & Art History | Gems & Precious Stones
Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Bindings