A fabulous World War II sterling silver and blue guilloche enamel powder compact which was crafted by John William Barrett and assayed at Birmingham in D Day year (1944). A wonderful piece of British history. The city of Birmingham suffered from heavy bombing by the German Luftwaffe which began on August 9 1940. Birmingham was the third most bombed English city in WWII. The Luftwaffe would continue to blitz Birmingham until April 23 1943.
To think that silversmiths would continue to craft exquisite vanities for the wives of our brave RAF pilots during this time and in the following years is uplifting and shows their spirit and determination. This piece is exceptionally good and it is obvious that this vanity has been cherished and treated with great respect.
The enamel is most appropriately Air Force Blue, which is described as a medium shade of the colour azure.....like the sky on a clear summers day. The enamel is in excellent condition, as is the whole item. There isn't any enamel loss, damage or fading. The guilloche enamel is in a style which mirrors the chevrons seen on the RAF uniforms. We have not managed to capture the true beauty of this highly collectible vanity. The enamel is so much more vibrant. It is a mesmerizing beauty!
Set atop the lid is a sterling silver enamelled pilot's flying badge.
A double thumb catch ensures ease of opening. The interior contains a good clear mirror which gives an accurate reflection. The hallmarks are unworn and easy to read. The original sifter is present and so this compact can be used with loose face powder or kept part of a collection. Measures 3 inches diameter. Weighs 101.6 grams. An immaculate black velvet pouch is included.
Such an evocative antique which embodies the spirit, determination and pride so prevalent in mid-century Britain.
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