Luxury Design, Past & Present
An interesting coconut shell “bugbear” powder flask with a plaited braid carrying strap, the top finely carved with a native face with glass eyes, the central frieze depicting fashionable men in a plantation of exotic trees and a ‘masonic’ trophy of carpenters’ tools, inscribed “UVGT: Parisien La Couronne des Amours Compagnon Passant Charpentier” French, c1790. 5in, 13cm.
Footnote: ‘Compagnons Passants Charpentiers’ are a French guild of journeymen carpenters similar to freemasons. Such guilds were first formed in medieval times and part of their training included (as it does today) travelling to deploy their skills in other communities. The first mention of this particular group occurs in 1480, when they were received in Rhodes by the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem. Their motto, UVGT, stands for Union Vertu Genie Travail and they were recognisable by their long staffs, brightly coloured ribbons and tall hats.