Palais Royale music box – £2600 at Batemans.

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As well as cafes, billiard parlours, gaming houses and brothels, shops sold luxury items. In the early 19th century the area became synonymous with the sale of ivory, ormolu and mother-of-pearl sewing accoutrements and other trinkets, most of them made in nearby manufacturing centres such as Meru.

Two good Palais Royale works of art have appeared for sale in recent weeks.

The last sale of the year at Batemans (20% buyer’s premium) in Stamford on December 18 included an 11in (27cm) high jewel stand incorporating a music box.

Modelled as a cherub playing a harp, the uprights inset with mother of pearl, a musical movement playing two airs is activated by moving two pedals. Estimated at £1000-1500, it sold for £2600 to the international trade.


Palais Royale necessaire – £3200 at Tennants.

Also incorporating a musical cylinder movement, a Palais Royale necessaire was offered by Tennants (22% buyer’s premium) on February 2. Modelled as a square form pianoforte and opening to reveal a mirror and a tray fitted with sewing accoutrements, it sold well above estimate for £3200.