AN ART DECO CIGARETTE CASE, CARTIER
VANDERBILT, WILLIAM K.-- WEST MADE EAST
The cigarette case of rectangular outline, centering upon a carved jadeite plaque with cabochon sapphire accents and rectangular cabochon coral borders, to the rectangular cabochon coral thumbpeice, the lid opening to reveal the reverse inscribed with ALVA, and a hinged wall inscribed with Happy Xmas, To Rose and Father, From Willie, 1930, mounted in silver gilt--8.3/8 x 3 x 2 ins.; the book bound with pennant insignia of the Alva on the green cover
New York: Privately Printed, 1933. 379pp.
Signed Cartier, Paris, Londres, New York
Vanderbilt Cartier Cigarette Box
The newly rich in the Gilded Age sought new pastimes for their amusement; many favored yachting, traveling the world in luxuriously outfitted crafts that rivaled royal yachts. J.P. Morgan had his Corsair and William K. Vanderbilt his Alva, an ocean-going steam vessel that could speed across the Atlantic at twelve knots. Many years later, his son, Willie K. II, spent his time cruising the high seas but with a purpose: to collect fish of all kinds, marine life and tropical animals for his own private museum. He took his yachting seriously, replacing each vessel with a bigger and better model, from Tarantula, taken by the Navy during World War I, to Genesee, an auxiliary schooner, to Ara, a former French sloop of war. In 1930, Willie built his dream yacht, also named the Alva after his mother, a 264'5" passenger steamer boasting three cabins, eight staterooms, dining room, card room and gymnasium with a crew of 43, including a photographer, an artist and a taxidermist to record the specimens found on the journey. Decorated with the same care as his mansion on Fifth Avenue, elegant accoutrements accessorized its furnishings, such as the Cartier cigarette box presented to Willie and his second wife, Rose, by his son and namesake expressly for use on the Alva. (2)