Rare English enamel patch box, ‘Hobby-Horse’, c. 1815

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Rare English enamel patch box, painted with an early bicycle rider, titled above ‘Hobby-Horse’, the base in a deep blue, the interior with original mirror.
Circa 1815

3x4cm

Good condition, some very minor flaws with no restoration.

 

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This extraordinary box bears the earliest depiction of what was to become the bicycle – a ‘Hobby Horse’ which was propelled along by the legs of the rider, and braking was by the same method.  Such contraptions appeared as early as 1810- and this box style was most certainly of the type most common 1800-1815.
There are a whole range of ‘hobby-horse’ enamel boxes of fraudulent nature; these are by the French faking workshop of Samson, Paris, and date to the later, rather than the earlier 19th century. It appears there was a demand for these rarities in the late Victorian period, so they made ‘replicas’….

This genuine example has all the features we look for in genuine 18th century English enamels, and none of those seen in later copies.

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