18th Century Étuis

An étui is basically a fancy case, usually somewhat cylindrical, and often metal (sometimes with enamel ornament). Sometimes they are used to hold sewing tools and/or cosmetic tools. Sometimes they are suspended from a chatelaine.

I've separated these out by types, to make it a bit easier to compare the evolution of similar examples and understand when and where a particular style was produced.

You can also find 18th century etuis on eBay; I've saved a few sewing-related examples in an eBay collection of 18th century sewing tools.

English agate étuis

French gold étuis

Staffordshire enameled étuis

  • Manchester 1958.512, South Staffordshire, c. 1750-1780; “Etui of flattened oval section tapered towards the bottom with a deep hinged lid in an ornamental metal mount with a chased metal mount to the top; inside are three implements. Enamelled on metal and painted in colours with two panels containing figures on the body and three panels of sprays of flowers on the lid, all within white scroll borders on a pale turquoise ground decorated with trellis and dot pattern in white.”
  • Met 24.80.73, c. 1750-1800
  • Manchester 1958.514, South Staffordshire, c. 1760-1780; “Etui of flattened oval section tapered towards the bottom with a deep hinged lid within a tooled mount, tooled mounts also to the top and bottom; fitted inside with an ivory tablet. Enamel on metal and painted in colours with four panels of sprays of flowers in white scroll borders on a dark blue ground decorated with trellis and dot pattern, scrolls and stars in white.”
  • Met 24.80.71a-c, c. 1760-1800
  • Met 90.14.4a, b, c. 1760-1800
  • Met 90.14.22a, b, c. 1760-1800
  • Met 17.190.1057a-h, a nécessaire, c. 1760-1800
  • PHM A4058, Bilston, c. 1765

Other étuis

  • Met 91.1.922a, b, straw on papier mâché, probably French
  • Cheffins Jun 19, 2013, lot 388, a bloodstone etui case with gold filigree scrolling and a diamond set thumbpiece
  • MFA 02.201a-b, orange amber etui or needlecase with brass and copper collars, German, first half of the 18th century
  • Met 1977.216.51, porcelain with gold, Vienna, c. 1735
  • PHM A4059, finely engraved silver etui with fittings, in silver-mounted shagreen case, England, c. 1740
  • GUCO 1486; “Woman’s etui, or case, contains tools for daily use. They include scissors, pencil, fork, knife, corkscrew, bodkin, tweezers, ear pick, and an ivory writing board.”
  • Met 1974.356.652, gold with enamel miniatures, Vienna
  • Met 38.50.56 a-c, hard-paste porcelain, crystal, copper gilt, probably German, probably mid-18th century
  • Met 38.50.60 ab, hard-paste porcelain and silver, probably German, mid-18th century
  • Met 64.101.278 étui in the shape of a gentleman's leg, wearing a garter with the motto of the Order of the Garter (honi soit qui mal y pense), Vienna, 1750-1751
  • Met 38.50.55, hard-paste porcelain and silver, possibly German, c. 1750-1760
  • Met 38.50.52, gold and heliotrope, c. 1750-1770
  • Met 38.50.27 ab, gold, wood, tortoiseshell and vernis martin, France, 3rd quarter of the 18th century
  • Met 17.190.1083, gold and enamel, France, 3rd quarter of the 18th century
  • Met 38.50.21a-h, a pocket nécessaire with personal grooming tools in a shagreen case with gold fittings, France, 3rd quarter of the 18th century
  • Met 17.190.1076, a needle case, soft-paste porcelain and gold, Vincennes, c. 1752
  • PMA 1975-140-153a,b, an etui with a spyglass, Berlin, c. 1755
  • Met 41.160.67a-l, a pocket set of drawing instruments in a shagreen case with silver mounts, London, c. 1755-1760
  • Met 48.187.490, a gold étui with enamel decoration, Paris, c. 1756-1762
  • Met 1977.216.3a, b, porcelain and gold, Sèvres, 1757-1758
  • Serengeti2 IS-145, enamelled sewing etui, London (?), 1760
  • Louis Wine LD-J 96079, silver necessaire, c. 1760; “The interior is fitted with 11 original implements, including fork, 2 knives, measure ruler, scissors, ivory leaves, snuff spoon, tweezers, file, needle threader.; one compartment vacant, presumably for pencil.”
  • Met 38.50.58a, b, hard-paste porcelain and gold, possibly German, c. 1760-1770
  • Manchester 1958.513, England, c. 1760-1780; “Etui of flattened oval section tapered towards the bottom with a deep hinged lid in an elaborate metal mount with chased metal mounts to the top and bottom; inside is an ivory memorandum. Enamel on metal and painted in colours with five panels of classical landscapes within gilt scroll borders on a dark blue ground decorated with gilt floral sprays and stars.”
  • Cleveland 1916.325, painted wood with gold mounts, Paris, c. 1768
  • Cleveland 1916.324, painted wood with gilt metal mounts, France, c. 1770 (?)
  • Met 38.50.28 a-c, étui for sealing wax and case, varicolored gold and shagreen, Paris, 1785-1786
  • Christie's Sale 1126, Lot 191, Louis XVI gold-mounted tortoiseshell necessaire, c. 1789-1792
  • SPNEA 1931.242a-e, America, c. 1790-1810; “Silver scissor case in a t-shape with textured pattern on surface. Interior contains a pair of scissors, penknife, and a pointed tool.”