Case

18th century (made)
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Silver, Room 69, The Whiteley Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Small cases like this were used in the home to store bodkins (small pointed instruments for piercing holes in cloth) and other sewing equipment. This one was made using the intricate technique of piqué which was perfected in Paris in the 18th century. It required skilled craftsmen to inlay turtle shell (now known as tortoiseshell) with tiny gold pins and strips of gold to create delicate decorative patterns.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Picque, inlaid tortoiseshell, gold
Brief Description
Bodkin case, tortoiseshell, gold, French, 18th century
Physical Description
Picque, inlaid tortoise-shell. Of oval section with a hinged cover with press button catch in front. It is surmounted by a gilt cap chased with a trophy of arms framed in strapwork and foliage. The pique decoration consists of scrollwork and foliage.
Dimensions
  • Length: 3.375in
  • Width: 0.875in
Gallery Label
Silver Gallery: Cases such as these were used to store bodkins and other sewing equipment. The example on the right is decorated with very fine piqué point decoration and engraved grooves which do not appear to have contained inlaid wires.(26/11/2002)
Credit line
Griffin Bequest
Summary
Small cases like this were used in the home to store bodkins (small pointed instruments for piercing holes in cloth) and other sewing equipment. This one was made using the intricate technique of piqué which was perfected in Paris in the 18th century. It required skilled craftsmen to inlay turtle shell (now known as tortoiseshell) with tiny gold pins and strips of gold to create delicate decorative patterns.
Collection
Accession Number
M.267-1960

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record createdFebruary 9, 2004
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