No Content Set

Plique A Jour

Objects of Vertu



Objects of vertu or ‘bijouterie’ are luxurious objects that are finely made using precious materials. They are usually small and admired as a work of art, although they will often be functional and have a purpose. Such items can include enamelled trinket boxes, perfume bottles, bonbonnieres, snuff boxes, minaudieres and etuis. Sometimes the items are made of gold or other fine luxurious materials such as shagreen, and decorated with precious stones, hardstones enamel or micro-mosaics. The vertu section is one of our favourite and diverse sections in the auction, and we have been fortunate to handle beautifully crafted and finely engineered items by makers including Faberge, Cartier, Janesich, Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels.

The vertu section of our auction also often includes portrait miniatures. These delicate painted works of art on ivory or porcelain were introduced from mid 16th century to early 20th century when photography then took over. Initially they became popular amongst the aristocracy who commissioned miniatures for loved ones and family members and these were often given as love tokens. Popular miniaturist include Richard Cosway, George Engleheart, John Smart and Andrew Plimer.

We have auctioned some rather exciting collections over the years including a set of twenty framed 19th century Indian miniatures including the Maharaja Sher Singh which sold for £16,000 (plus buyers premium). An amusing highlight was auctioning a 19th century portrait miniature of Marie Antoinette with her famous galleon hat for £1,400 (plus buyers premium).

Looking for a valuation? Speak to our friendly team today for a free online valuation.