A reversible enamelled gold brooch by Alexis Falize,
Paris, circa 1870
the enamels by Antoine Tard, of circular form with gold beaded border decorated with a seated crane against a lacquer red coloured ground on one side, the reverse with a snail on a foliate stem against a vivid turquoise coloured ground. The subtle variations of white, pink and grey hues used within the same cloison to depict the crane’s feathers reveal Antoine Tard’s mastery of this decorative technique.
3.5 cm in diameter
An identical brooch was included by Alexis Falize in the display of cloisonné enamelled jewellery he exhibited at the Union Centrale des Beaux-Arts appliqués à l’Industrie in 1869.
Depictions of cranes and snails in jewellery would have been regarded as highly singular at that time and these motifs largely derive from Katsuchika Hokusai’s Manga (1814-1820), a fifteen-volume set of paper bound woodcuts containing sketches of a wide range of flora and fauna that Alexis Falize is known to have owned and which provided a great deal of his source material. A snail is featured in one of the oval cloisonné enamelled panels he exhibited in the above-mentioned display in 1869.