The décharge mark on the placques securely identifies this rare and exquisite casket as Parisian work; as such is represents, in an almost unique fashion, exotic and dainty aspect of the decorative arts of the luxurious Régence period. The combination of many different materials strikes a rarified note of orientalist antiquarianism; the studded piqué-work on a green leather background in particular, seems redolent of Hispanic caskets of the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. The piqué on tortoiseshell, though more traditional, is a rare documented example of this technique as practised in France. It may be compared to the pear-shaped castor in the Schatzkammer of the Residenz in Munich, which although unmarked bears the name of Rémy de Cuizy à Paris. The silver-gilt plaque chased with oriental figures on the top, and the trefoil keyhole escutcheon, are reminiscent of the finest Parisian gold boxes of the period. The ornamental engraving of the silver plaques and on the bottom can again be paralelled on a number of boxes, usually unmarked and often identified as German (see for example Clare le Corbeiller, European and American Snuff Boxes 1730-1830, London 1966, figs. 243-244).
Indeed, the colourful profusion of this casket seems to strike a Germanic note and as such points to a side of Régence taste that is probably insufficiently appreciated. In a sense it may be compared to a well-known series of polychrome Boulle marquetry caskets which are often called German but are almost certainly of French origin. These include one in the Victoria & Albert Museum, described in O. Brackett, The Catalogue of the Jones Collection,Part I, Furniture, London, 1922, p. 28, no. 91, and a group of three, which were sold, Christie's New York, 21 October 1997, lots 19-21. They are related to a chinoiserie lean-to desk sold by the Trustees of the Knole Estates in these rooms, 17th June 1987, lot 73. In a more general fashion, the gold-studded casket with its edges outlined in gilt is of course not foreign to the period of taste that still strongly favoured Boulle furniture, especially those pieces that were enriched with elements of mother-of-pearl, coloured horn and other materials.