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Emu Egg Dressing Table Necessaire

EMU EGG DRESSING TABLE NECESSAIRE

Accession ID:

1963.18

Name:

Emu Egg Dressing Table Necessaire

Category:

Item

Type:

ArtWork

Maker:

Harry S Steiner

Date:

c1875

Description

This Emu Egg Dressing Table Necessaire, better known as a 'lady's companion' or a perfume-bottle holder was made by Adelaide silversmith Henry Steiner. It is a fine example of intricate decorative art using emu eggs, which was popular in the 19th century. The most remarkable feature is the centerpiece of the design, which is a silver gilt lined emu egg that encloses two perfume bottles. The egg has been cut in two and is hinged to allow access to the perfume bottles inside. The bottles are made of two very large beans from a Queensland tree, with silver necks and caps added to make them functional as perfume containers. At either side of the egg are two very ornate handles that have been made in the design of a cornucopia (a cone-like unit that spills over with fruit). The egg sits vertically on a tree-fern stem and the gently curving fronds of the tree create an impression of the egg almost hovering. At the base of the tree are two Aboriginal figures wearing traditional clothes and an emu. At the top of the egg mounted on a central shaft is a finial (an ornamental tip) in the form of a kangaroo which when depressed opens the egg to reveal the two silver mounted Queensland bean perfume bottles.


History

Regan Silverware Collection, Tamworth Regional Gallery.


Significance

Provenance: Donated by Mr and Mrs J.C. Lyttleton Taylor. Inscriptions: Underneath is the name - H.S. Steiner. A King or Queens Head and a Lion.


Associated Subjects