The jewelled and golden 'necessaire', serving as a watch-stand/dressing-chest, has hollowed and fluted corners in the French/antique fashion; and, with its sheep caryatids and agate tablets framed by 'picturesque' rose-flowered Roman foliage, recalls pastoral Arcadia. Such exotic objets de vertu were retailed by fashionable London 'toy-shops' or museums, such as the 'Spring Garden Museum' opened in the 1760s by James Cox (d. 1791), who had been established as a jeweller and maker of automata or 'toys of the heart' since 1749. His son John Henry Cox, opened a branch of his manufactory in the British Compound at Canton in the early 1780s (see A. H. Weaving, 'Clocks for the Emperor', Antiquarian Horology, Summer 1991, pp. 367-390).
A related necessaire was sold by the late Sir James Caird Bt., in these Rooms, 24 November 1992, lot 81.