Leslie Antiques: English Georgian Glass, Porcelain, Miniature Painting Leslie Antiques Ltd.

Chelsea Toy Seal of a Boy on a Stump c1755

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Ceramics: English: Porcelain: Pre 1800: Item # 1254761

Please refer to our stock # p1048 when inquiring.
Leslie Antiques Ltd.
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New York, New York 10128

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The group of small porcelain items known as "toys" is composed of scent bottles, bonbonnieres, etuis, and seals. These were produced from the early years of Chelsea through to the Chelsea-Derby period. (The most comprehensive work on these items is The Chelsea Porcelain Toys, by G.E. Bryant, published in 1925.) Seals were carried by members of the upper class and used to imprint a uniquely identifiable mark in the wax used to sign or secure documents or letters. They were generally 1" to 1 3/8" in height.

The toy offered here is a 1 1/8" tall seal in the form of a boy sitting on a tree stump. A very similar seal is illustrated in the Bryant book referenced above. Because of their small size and heavy usage, chipping and heavy wear to the enamels is very typical. Loss of the ring mount and/or base mount is also common, and is not considered a major problem. The seal in this listing is in overall excellent condition, with just some tiny bits of loss to the black enamel in some spots. Please keep in mind that these are highly enlarged pictures and any flaws look much worse than in real life. The ring mount is present, as is the base mount.

Of important note is that the matrix (the portion that actually impresses the seal markings) is a beautiful example of millefiori work, which is done by setting tiny bits of colored glass into a mosaic pattern. It is exceedingly uncommon to find such a matrix on a seal.