>Glancing at this marvelous hand-made bag, one first thinks "Art Deco" because of the Egyptian pattern - but another Egyptian Revival took place decades earlier in Victorian times (prompted by the opening of the Suez Canal). I'm much inclined to believe the purse is 19th century.The top detail that persuades me is the diagonal chain. It's attached to both sides, not just one, and it isn't ornamental; it was undoubtedly covered with fabric or ribbon originally. Too, the dainty floral pattern of the frame looks Victorian, without a hint of Deco geometry, and it has holes through which the bag was stitched directly onto the frame. The wide frou-frou edges of the bright red-orange lining aren't at all characteristic of the Deco period, either. Remember, major manufacturers had long been in operation by the mid-1920s, when the discovery of Tut's tomb started that Egyptian craze. Their production standards were as high as any the world has ever seen - whereas this bag is unlabeled and, by 20th century standards, primitive. By Victorian standards, however, it's quite grand and well worthy of all the handwork that went into it.
Setting age considerations aside, what we have here is a very heavily beaded bag with a lovely soft drape, rich colors and no major losses. On one side, a few small areas need rebeading - fortunately with simple clear glass beads that aren't hard to come by. The lining is not only intact, but unstained. Condition is impressive, even if we were talking about a bag from the 1920s, rather than a rare example from the 1860s or 1870s. It was purchased in England and very probably made there. Definitely it's one of a kind and thus extremely special.
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