Two Victorian celluloid communion purses. French, late 19th…
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Two Victorian celluloid communion purses. French, late 19th century, the rectangular compact coin purses with white metal mounts opening to cream-coloured compartments, one plain and one with pique floral and crest decoration to one side. Length 7 cm, width 6 cm

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  • Pique Work - A decorative technique used on jewellery and small decorative objects in which designs are created by inlaying small gold or silver studs and stips into tortoiseshell. The art reached its highest point in 17th- and 18th-century France, particularly for the decoration of small tortoiseshell articles such as combs, patch boxes, and snuffboxes.
  • Victorian Period - The Victorian period of furniture and decorative arts design covers the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. There was not one dominant style of furniture in the Victorian period. Designers used and modified many historical styles such as Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, English Rococo, Neoclassical and others, although use of some styles, such as English Rococo and Gothic tended to dominate the furniture manufacture of the period.

    The Victorian period was preceded by the Regency and William IV periods, and followed by the Edwardian period, named for Edward VII (1841 ? 1910) who was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India for the brief period from 1901 until his death in 1910.
  • Celluloid - In 1864 an American scientist by the name of Parkes mixed camphor with nitrocellulose, etc. The result was what came to be known as "celluloid", the first form of plastic, and a product for which Parkes could find no use.

    Some time later when the supplies of ivory for making billiard balls were becoming difficult to obtain, an inventor produced a perfect billiard ball from a mould using "celluloid".

    Toys, dolls and other products such as combs, cutlery handles and costume jewellery made from celluloid began appearing on the market from 1913 and continued to do so until the early 1950s by which time it was superseded by more modern products due to safety concerns because it was highly flammable and brittle product.

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