The annular plaque applied with a micro mosaic scene depicting a tiger in profile stood upon grass, circa 1800.
Note: During the latter part of the 18th Century, micro mosaics saw a great revival as Neoclassicism dominated European tastes. The scenes in these plaques (that were applied to decorative objects such as tobacco boxes, or furniture and fireplaces) were often allegorical in nature using classical symbolism and most often around the subject of love - romantic or familial. In another reference to antiquity, monochromatic micro mosaic scenes reproducing classical ancient busts, and like this tiger plaque, micro mosaics done with pronounced tesserae to mimic those found in ancient mosaic floors. This micro mosaic plaque would probably have been created in Rome (the centre of micro mosaicism and whose epicentre was The Vatican Mosaic Studio founded in 1727. Further studios such as The School of Mosaics initiated by Giacomo Raffaeli in Milan and craftsmen in Florence soon followed suit) as European travel became once again possible after the end of the French Revolution and ensuing Terror, Europe’s and America’s well to do (increasingly no longer just the aristocracy) flocked to Italy for their artistic education on their Grand Tour. This plaque (which would have been bought as it is and taken home to be mounted) pays homage to the mosaic scenes of Ancient Greece, and then later Rome, with its purposefully distinct white tesserae background (a stylistic choice, not a sign of lax technique) and choice of subject - evoking decorative Roman villa floors (in themselves, an homage to their Ancient Greek equivalents).