The Art Deco Movement & Art Deco Compact Mirrors

The Art Deco Movement & Art Deco Compact Mirrors

  Colour ‘Woodblock’ Poster For The Paris 1925 Exhibition By Robert Bonfils  

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Whilst the Art Deco style did not just appear in 1925, this is when one of the most stylish design movements ever, began to be celebrated at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratif in Paris, 1925. This exhibition is probably the most famous World’s Fair.  It ran from April to October 1925. Inventors, architects, artists, fashion designers & artisans came together to change the way design was perceived. 

                                Cubism inspired Art Deco: 

Cubism is one of the most influential movements of the twentieth century. The age of photography meant that artists needed to represent their art in a new radical way. Essentially - they could not make a picture perfect image, as the camera could & so they needed not only to be different but to be better than the camera. Better in the sense that they were more artistic, more abstract & more creative. Cubism is also known as the first abstract style of painting. As early as 1907 Cubism is said to have begun. Perhaps the most famous Cubist painter was Picasso & it was his association with Braque that led to development of the movement. Both painters greatly admired the work of Cezanne. Cubist painters rejected the previously held desire that artists should copy nature & even that the traditional techniques held in such high regard since Michelangelo & Da Vinci of modeling, foreshortening & perspective should not be adhered to. The emphasis was on two dimensional images, geometric forms & even fractured images of humans which caused much disquiet at the time. 

           The Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was painted in 1907 by Picasso

Cubist artists - Picasso, Braque, Robert and Sonia Delaunay among others crossed over to the world of theatre and designed sets for the Ballet Russes. These sets were enormously popular & influential in the world of jewellery & Art Deco fashion.

                                    PARADE (Ballet Russes production, 1916)

                                    Picasso designed the set & also the costumes.


As a response to the austerity that was seen during WWI the exhibits at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratif in Paris, 1925, represented the luxury market & a bold statement was being made that Paris was still the most stylish city in the world, the best perfumeries, the most stylish fashion, the most superbly wrought jewellery / jewelry in the world was often French made, not even WWI could destroy this! 


             Paris Assayed Imported Into London In 1938 By Asprey & Co.                                            

The epitome of Art Deco design and extravagance,  Asprey & Co. sterling silver, rose gold, emerald and diamond loose powder compact. 



            Art Deco Mappin & Webb Guilloche Enamel Loose Powder Compact


A unique high quality powder bowl in the original presentation box, commissioned by Mappin & Webb in 1922. This superb antique powder compact is signed "MAPPIN & WEBB LTD". It is fully hallmarked "G W L & CO ( G W Lewis & Co.), anchor (assayed at Birmingham) lion passant (sterling silver) date year X (1922)". The whole compact is in excellent condition. The beautiful lid has the most gorgeous and subtle cream guilloche enamel which is without losses or fading. The enamel is an even colour. Set atop, an impressive lapis lazuli cabochon . The beautiful down puff is pristine and unused. It has a celluloid ring attached to a blue silk backing.  The ancient crimson presentation case is in remarkably good condition. The lid bears the royal coat of arms and reads as follows "MAPPIN & WEBB LTD. (MAPPIN BROS INCORPORATED) Diamond Merchants & Art Jewellers, LONDON, W." An ancient piece of tissue paper still inside the case. Measures almost 5 cm & weighs 51.3 grams.



Porte d'Orsay, Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Paris 1925, seen from the approach to the exhibition grounds.



Porte d'Orsay seen from inside the exhibition grounds 'Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes', Paris 1925 designed by Louis-Hippolyte Boileau.




 Louis-Hippolyte Boileau 1878–1948

Louis-Hippolyte Boileau was a highly regarded French architect, his grandfather, Louis-August Boileau & father, Louis-Charles Boileau were also noted architects. Louis-Hippolyte studied at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Gaston Redon. Whilst at the School of Fine Arts in Paris he won many awards. He became Chief Architect of civil buildings and national palaces, as well as the first Grand Prix Jacques Carlu and Léon Azéma.


     In 1907 Boileau built the Hotel Lutetia 1910 rue de Sèvres with Henri Tauzin


                      Art Deco Victor Mayer Compact Mirror / Powder Box                                                 

This exquisitely beautiful and stylish Art Deco vanity was made by Victor Mayer, who was a Faberge workmaster. His firm was located in Pforzheim - the gateway to the Black Forest. This city is famous as center of jewellery making, so much so, that it was known colloquially as Goldstadt ('Golden City'). The name of Victor Mayer is well known for its luxurious ultra vanities, high end jewellery and the exceptionally skilled workmanship as we see in this adorable Art Deco powder compact.



Cubist Inspired Le Roy Et Fils Sterling, Ruby & Gold Loose Powder Compact.                                 

This is an exceptionally rare and most likely a unique Art Deco Le Roy et Fils sterling silver ruby & gold powder compact. The maker of this fabulous Art Deco compact needs no introduction. However, they have such a wonderful history it is good to share it.

The Maison de Le Roy was founded in 1785 at Palais Royal and continued until the death of Charles-Louis Le Roy at Versailles in 1865. Le Roy et Fils premises can later be found at 13-15 Galerie Montpensier, Palais Royal, Paris when the Duc d'Orleans opened the Palais Royal gardens. In 1885 the London retail outlet of Le Roy et Fils was situated at 57 Bond Street, having moved the short distance from Regent Street.  

The firms accolades include Master clockmaker to Napoleon, Princess Pauline & the Duc de Bourbon. Examples of their work is found in all the major collections as well as the Ministere de la Guerre, Paris. They are the only foreign clockmaker to hold a British Royal Warrant under Queen Victoria.

Bronze, Silver & Gold Medal winners at Paris.

Paris 1867– Medaille de Bronze  

Paris 1878 – Medaille d’Argent

Paris 1889– Medaille d’Or

To find this exceptionally rare compact in the original signed case is a source of great joy for us and the new owner who resides in the U.S.A.  The compact is made from sterling silver, set with high quality rubies in the most striking geometric Art Deco design & the mounts for the rubies are solid gold. The influence for this ultra vanity is Cubism & this piece simply could not be more Art Deco! 

It is no exaggeration to say that this piece is an objet d'art. The geometric composition is not one we have seen on a vanity before. The sleek silver case perfectly well preserved & the 'cold' grey of the silver set off wonderfully by the 'warm' solid gold mounts which hold the glorious rubies. All clasps & hinges work perfectly - as you would expect this vanity has a spring loaded catch & it just glides open. Work of the highest standard - the base & sides have this striking geometric design perfectly matched - so too the thumb catch. The original sifter is in place. The bevelled mirror is very good & gives a clear reflection -it has a few subtle age spots.


Also we have to say that we have never seen a protective case bound with leather of this quality. This vanity is certainly in the league of Cartier & Boucheron. 




The master silversmith who made this for Le Roy et Fils is Lucien Patouillard. The image above shows his mark.

This piece measures 8 cm X 5.7 cm & weighs 95.6 grams.



You can find out more on the history behind this revered style in our bespoke fact packs that are supplied with every order from The Vintage Compact Shop - browse our extensive range of art deco accessories here.