Travelling set of Empress Marie Louise of France (silver-gilt,
mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell and other materials; width of case
56 cm); Martin Guillaume Biennais and workshop, Paris, 1812
The set was a present from Napoleon, "Emperor of the French", to his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria, the eldest daughter of Emperor Franz I of Austria.
The precious case has a number of cleverly disguised secret compartments and bears the signature of Biennais, the most famous goldsmith of the day, under the key-plate.
It contains more than 120 items, made from silver-gilt, gold, mother-of-pearl, tortoiseshell, ivory and ebony, and including a dinner service for two, a toiletry set, writing and sewing implements, a measuring rod, a screwdriver and even dentist's instruments.