This antique bodkin case is hand painted and decorated in a style called Vernis Martin*. It was an 18th century imitation of Chinese lacquer work. It's carved of wood and the internal sleeve is beautifully patterned natural tortoise shell. The mount between the top and bottom is gilded metal. The hand painted design shows a dog barking at a bird in a cage while a larger bird spreads its wings in the tree above. The painting is gorgeous with almost no rubbing over an iridescent background. Flowers are painted on both ends.
The condition is excellent with no chips or cracks and it closes securely. It measures 5" long and the ends are 7/8" in diameter. A bodkin case in this style is shown in the upper right corner on p. 59 of Bridget McConnel's book "The Story of Antique Needlework Tools". The postage shown includes Registered shipping for non US addresses and insured shipping within the US.
*Vernis Martin was a lustrous lacquer substitute widely used in the 18th century to decorate furniture and such personal articles as brisé fans and snuffboxes. The process of adding bronze or gold powder to green varnish was perfected by the Martin family, hence its name vernis Martin (“Martin varnish”). Highly praised by Voltaire, it was developed to imitate East Asian lacquerware being imported into France during the Louis XV period. Vernis Martin was made in several colors, green and a golden red being the most characteristic.