All Collections
Previous Next
Back to Collection


FR 729 | France, Paris | circa 1811

Print Download

Artwork Details

Title: Almanac

Date: circa 1811

Location: France, Paris

Materials: gold, opaque champlevé, translucent and painted enamel, pearls, vellum

Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.8 x 0.9 cm

Accession Number: FR 729

Other Notes:

The front of the almanac is painted with an allegorical celebration of the birth of François Joseph Charles, styled King of Rome, son of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his second consort, born Marie-Louise, Archduchess of Austria. Minerva, goddess of wisdom, holds the cradle with an N-crowned headboard, while Cupid, Mars and Victory look on. The reverse is decorated in cerulean blue champlevé enamel with the signs of the zodiac, suitable motifs for an almanac. Within there is a handwritten calendar of saints bound in enamelled gold covers, while the hinged base opens to reveal a vinaigrette.

The technique and quality of the painted enamel are typical of contemporary Swiss work. François-Regnault Nitot, if previously unaware, would have had the opportunity to examine the skills of the Genevois enamellers at the exhibition held in Paris in 1806. Though they were jewellers, his firm engaged outside craftsmen for work that was beyond its traditional remit. Thus the almanac could have been painted either in Paris by a Swiss artist or in Geneva for this particular phase of its decoration. Either way, its appearance on an object destined for the most elevated of patrons demonstrates that Swiss painted enamels were recognised as being of the highest quality. Henri Vever noted that the Empress Marie-Louise, brought up modestly and simply, did not buy extravagantly on her own behalf, unlike her predecessor the Empress Josephine. When she made purchases they tended to be sentimental souvenirs – of which this almanac is typical – and acrostic bracelets, where the initials of the coloured stones spelt the names of her beloved. For this piece, commemorating the birth of her son, the Empress paid 750 francs.


Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 1, pp. 40–1.

Related Artworks


FAB 96
Russia, St. Petersburg


JAP 387
Japan, Tokyo

Covered Cup

FR 444
France, Sèvres, the vessel, possibly Burgundy


FAB 111
Russia, St Petersburg


AUS 326
Austria, Vienna


AUS 940
Austria, Vienna

Bread and Salt Dish

RUS 22
Russia, Moscow

Two-handled Kovsh

RUS 15
Russia, Moscow


FR 990(X)
Limoges, France

Throne Table

CH 648
China, Guangzhou (Canton)

Cup and Cover

FR 587
France, Paris

Presentation Charger

RUS 113
Russia, Moscow


AUS 325
Austria, Vienna

Wall Plaque

CH 487
China, probably Beijing

Wall Panel

CH 492
China, Guangzhou (Canton)

Snuff Bottle

CH 835
China, probably Beijing

Pair of Altar Candlesticks

CH 920
China, probably Guangzhou (Canton)


CON 294
possibly Austria/Hungary


CON 764
possibly Italy

Pair-cased Watch and associated Chatelaine

ENG 478
England, London



Khalili Collections Logo

Share this page