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Monday, 13 May 2013

Bois Durci

A collection of five French mid 19th century medallions made from animal blood and sawdust a process invented by Francios Charles Lepage in 1856 have just been loaded onto the website. Creating the medallions involved a process using animal blood from the Paris abattoirs mixed with finely ground hard wood - rosewood was a favourite. This mixture which formed a paste was then cured and heated under extreme pressure in moulds. The process in France was called "Bois Durci" (English "Wood" "Hardened") and the outcome was an early form of plastic - very hard and with a glossy texture.  This technique was mainly used to make small decorative household items and the medallions you can see below.

The two medallions above are of "Victoria Queen of England" and "Prince Albert", you can see how fine the detail of the moulds is. The backs of the medallions have the Bois Durci name moulded into the back



 During the later 19th century medallions were made of most of the European royal families, the famous, the great and the good.
The medallions are of 'Giuseppe Garibaldi', Napoleon III Emperor and 'Napoleon Prince Imperial NĂ© Le Mars 1856'.

The new material was used for the cases of Daguerreotypes, the early form of photograph invented in 1837 by Lois Jacques-Mande Deguerreand. Many other items including dominos, frames, ink wells, book covers, clock dials, etc. were made in the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

Graham Smith Antiques has been established for 14 years but Graham has been in the antiques business for 40 years. We trade on line and from showrooms on the edge of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and all the items shown on the website are available to view at the showrooms where they are displayed in four room settings - for ease of viewing. As long time members of LAPADA [the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers], the UK's largest trade association for professional art and antiques dealers, we want all our customers to be confident to buy from us on line or in person and make every effort to make each sale a pleasure. Please take some time to read our Testimonials page which can be found on the home page of our website.

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