Certainly this is a unique piece, a bespoke commission retailed from one of Britain's most prestigious stores, Fortnum & Mason Ltd. This fully hallmarked sterling silver, 9 ct gold & rose gold loose powder compact was assayed at London. The case is signed 'FORTNUM & MASON LTD' & we have not seen another vanity with this signature.
As you would expect this is a high quality piece, on the lid raised 9 ct gold letters spell out 'GWEN'. At the top & bottom of the lid rose gold borders with horizontal engine turned lines, which contrast perfectly with the bold linear design on the lid, sides & base. The thumb catch is rose gold too. Push the thumb catch to activate a spring loaded catch & the lid glides open to reveal a perfect bevelled mirror surrounded by a sterling silver bezel. The powder well is hallmarked 'R & R' into a chamfered rectangle, lion passant, leopards head, D (the date letter for 1939). The maker is Ramsden & Roed, trading at 18 & 19 Warwick Street, London. This was a successful partnership in the second quarter of the 20th century. They made cases, boxes, vanities and other ranges of personal silver, which was often retailed through such high end outlets as Asprey's, Garrards and Dunhill. A tremendous amount of thought went into this gift & in 1940 Alice & Henry presented it to Gwen. The satinized powder well is inscribed 'From Alice + Henry 1940'. The original sifter is present & it too is beautifully made. The silver edged sifter is in very good condition. All clasps & hinges work perfectly. The compact is in good condition with signs of use. Measures 2 1/2" X 2 1/4" & weighs 96.4 grams.
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