Antique French Grand Tour Eglomise Calling Card Tray Souvenir Circa 1889
A lovely 19th Century French Paris Exposition souvenir calling card tray with five eglomise scenes decorating the body of the tray. The eglomise scenes depicted in the four small round outside medallions include famous Paris tourist attractions. The medallions are all set in brass bezels separated by fleur designs which are attached to the beaded bezel surrounding the bottom scene. There is a brass ball with ring on each side as the handles. The tray sits high above four curved brass feet. This unusual souvenir tray is in very good to excellent condition with no noted flaws other than minor wear commensurate with age. The eglomise medallions are in very good shape with clean views and no damage to the glass and the brass frame reflects naturally aged patina. Novelty items such as this calling card tray were popular at shops on the Palais Royal when wealthy travelers visited Paris during the Grand Tour era and were often purchased as souvenirs. Many eglomise items haven't survived in good condition and nice examples are getting hard to find.
Eglomise is a French term referring to the process of applying a design and gilding onto the back of a glass panel to produce a mirror finish. However, the technique of reverse painting on glass actually dates back to pre-Roman eras. Over time, the term eglomise has come to be used to describe nearly any process that involves reverse painting on glass.