Nov 8, 2007

Vanity Set (Nécessaire)

Vanity Set (Nécessaire)

c. 1760

manner of James Barbot


Gold, agate, interior fitted with implements, mirror

Overall: 5.5 x 4.5 x 3.9 cm (2 3/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 9/16 in.)

Gift of Howard F. Stirn 2009.57

Did you know?

This small box with a mirror-lined lid is a dressing table accessory for travel that contains luxury objects such a clasp knife, tweezers, manicure set, and scent bottles.


Luxurious personal objects were an essential part of a privileged wardrobe during the 1700s and early 1800s, emphasizing their owner’s refinement and wealth. Jewelry, miniatures, and nécessaires—small expensive sets designed to hold grooming, writing, and sewing tools—were often given as intimate gifts, intended to be seen and admired. Their glittering surfaces, however, disguised a system based on the labor and suffering of enslaved or indentured people, whether in gold and stone mines or shops where these goods were made.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.