gilt-copper, translucent and opaque cloisonné enamel

diameter 31.5 cm

Throughout the history of opera, certain of its performers have enjoyed, within select circles, unbounded adulation. During the 19th century gala benefits were staged to honour distinguished singers, and such events were frequently marked by extravagant presentations, varying from transiently beautiful stage-swamping displays of out-of-season flowers to the fanciful concoctions of the silversmith and jeweler. Ballerinas, who by the end of the century enjoyed an equally devoted following, benefited particularly from the generosity of their admirers.

This dish, with an unidentified central monogram framed by a wreath of violets tied with blue ribbons inscribed with the titles of numerous operas, was undoubtedly made to commemorate such a performance.

For biographical details of Thesmar, See FR 284.

Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 15, p. 56.