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Les "Femmes fortes"Probably German, circa 1670. Exceptional and very rare gold and painted on enamel locket with colored wax haut relief depicting theportrait of an Aristocrat. Notes We have never seen a locket so early and so well-preserved. The present example retains its original wax bust, of which very few have survived.The locket represents the best of German enameling of the period. Recent work by Hans Boeckh has established the existence of an independent school of enameling based in Augsburg.For another Augsburg enamel see Antiquorum, November 1997, lot No. 35, now in the Patek Philippe Museum or Antiquorum, Nov. 16, 2002, lot 20. Bibliography : Hans Boeckh, "Les Arts Du Feu a Augsbourg Et à Geneve 1680-1710", in Genava, t. XLIV, 1996, pp. 91-92.Les "Femmes fortes"The figures which decorate the present enamel were taken from four engravings after Claude Vignon. They represent women legendary for their courage, des "femmes fortes" or "strong women". On the front, the Hellespontic Sibyl and Semiramis, Queen of Assyria; on the back, Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, and Clelia, a young Roman girl who distinguished herself by her bravery.The theme of "Les Femmes fortes", popular toward the middle of the 17th century, was admirably suited to extolling the virtues of Marie de Medici and Anne d'Autriche, both strong-minded women who had served as Regents until their sons (Louis XIII and Louis XIV, respectively) reached adulthood, thus insuring the continuation of