The Nécessaire de Voyage was an earlier French equivalent of the English dressing case, often more comprehensively equipped for travel. Larger sets could include kettles with heating burners, tea caddies, tea and coffee pots, cream jugs, sugar bowls, porcelain cups and saucers, sets of cutlery, drinking glasses, as well as sizeable items like silver wash basins, ewers, serving trays and removable candlesticks.
In order to fit such an assortment of items into a box whilst maintaining its portability and aesthetics, greater importance was directed to the placement of the interior fittings; with jigsaw-like precision, layered trays of tools and utensils nested in and around, underneath and above the other fittings, with virtually no space left unused. Some of the contents fitted neatly within each other, like a Russian Matryoshka doll, in order to maximise the limited room available.
Antique Nécessaire de Voyage Dressing Case in Ebony with Floral Brass Inlay by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.
Vanity Tool Tray from an Antique Nécessaire de Voyage Dressing Case by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.
An Ivory Sewing Etui from an Antique Nécessaire de Voyage Dressing Case by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.
Engine Turned Silver Kettle and Drinking Set from a French Nécessaire de Voyage by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.
The kettle slides out from the up-turned kettle stand.
Removing the kettle’s lid reveals a silver drinking beaker, spirit burner and wadding case neatly fitted within.
Full contents of the Silver Kettle and Drinking Set .
The spirit burner has a lower chamber to hold the flammable spirit-soaked wadding.
The kettle stand is placed over the spirit burner. The top rim of the kettle stand holds the kettle securely in place whilst the drink within is being heated by the flame of the spirit burner. The tortoiseshell handle connects to a mount on the side of the kettle. Once the drink has been suitably heated, it can be poured directly from the spout of the kettle into the drinking beaker.
A Pair of Hair Curling Irons from an Antique Nécessaire de Voyage Dressing Case by Aucoc Ainé à Paris.