The rectangular-shaped hinged case embellished to the front with a scene depicting four polo players in action within a verdant setting beneath a blue sky with white clouds, opening to reveal a hinged bar to secure the cigarettes, the reverse of the case applied with black enamel, signed Black Starr & Frost, circa 1925, maker's mark for Jean Trotain
Note: The 1920s saw sporting activities move to the forefront of fashionable pursuits, transforming clothing and jewellery in the process, and Polo (despite being an ancient “sport” used to exercise the cavalry in Persia played by hundreds as mini battles, as well as by nobility - notably women as well.) had quickly become popular since its adoption by the British in the early 1870s, after seeing it played in India, and by the end of the decade also America. By the 1920s it had become a firm favourite amongst Gatsbyesque crowds in the USA (and importantly also Argentina). Its rules were refined between the UK and USA and the pace quickened to suit American tastes and matches soon had thousands of supporters and even celebrities were keen to be photographed indulging in the sport. The fact that this cigarette case was made in France is no accident either. The 1920s saw a great demand for French goods from America’s elite and that the case was made by Jean Trotain’s atelier shows Black Starr & Frost’s command of this precious network of Parisian artisans. Trotain was responsible for many of the great artistic cigarette cases of the period designed by Gérard Sandoz (another who designed a series of sporting scenes in lacquer and enamel for cigarette cases) and Raymond Templier to name but two. Black Starr & Frost are one of the oldest of the famous American jewellery firms, evolving to the name above in 1876 but with roots in the beginning of the century and with many impressive events in its history. It became Black Starr & Frost-Gorham in 1929 and, as this cigarette case comes with a soft pouch bearing the Gorham name but is signed without this addition, it’s safe to presume its creation was before the merge and that it was sold afterwards.