The Order of Things. Exhibit in Detail

The today’s issue of the column "The Order of Things: Exhibit in Detail" is focusing on the Palais Royal style musical windmill shaped nécessaire, created in 1880-1830 in France.

Nécessaire (French: nécessaire "necessary") — a special container (bag, purse, box, case, etc.) for small items, which can be used to store hygiene supplies, cosmetics, manicure, sewing, needlework and other small items. As a rule a nécessaire has a special compartment so the objects don't shift.

Nécessaires appeared in the early 18th century and were divided into two types - desk and pocket ones. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the latter were often an accessory to a costume and were worn on a special chain (chatelaine) attached to a belt.

Nécessaire with items for needlework and musical movement is in the form of a wind mill. A square pedestal, octagonal reel with the hipped roof is in its center. It supports the swivel part of the mill that is in the form of a house with gable roof. A hole for the winding key is on the pivoting part, under the axis of the windmill. The four wind mill wings have a soldered wire frame covered with fine metal mesh. There is a small window on the left side, a porch with a ladder at the rear side, and two levers at the bottom to activate the mechanism. All surfaces of the wind mill are finished with mother-of-pearl plates in thin metal binding. The plates are decorated with thin engraved floral patterns. A wooden drawer with mother-of-pearl items for needlework – thimbles, pricker, case for needles, small brush, facetted glass scent bottle and others, 12 items totally, is in the pedestal. Cardboard insert plastered with grey velvet with shaped lodgments for each item is inside the drawer. The wind mill stands on four lion-shaped paws feet in the corners. A winding key is in the set.

The items demonstrated at The Order of Things exhibition are presented in detail in the museum Photo Gallery.

You can sign up for a tour for our new exhibition The order of things  on the museum website
the "Contact Information" section.