You stumble across so many fascinating things doing appraisal research!
Patch-box, Charles Gouyn's Factory, London, ca. 1749-1754, Porcelain, enamel, and gilt, 3.5 cm x 4.1 cm, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 414:277-1885.
Some people today think they’re so cool with their “tats”!
While this may not be tattooing- ladies were certainly decorating their skin way back when!
patch box, small, usually rectangular, sometimes oval box used mostly as a receptacle for beauty patches, especially in the 18th century. During the days of Louis XV, black patches of gummed taffeta were popular with fashionable women (and sometimes men) who wanted to emphasize the beauty or whiteness of their skin.
The patches varied in form and design from simple spots, stars, or crescents to elaborate animals, insects, or figures. Patches had their own tacit language: a patch at the corner of the eye could indicate passion, one at the middle of the forehead could express dignity. Women sometimes carried their patch boxes (which sometimes also contained rouge) with them. A gift of a patch box could be a costly expression of admiration and sentiment, for they were usually gold, sometimes enameled or painted with amorous scenes and encrusted with jewels.
How does the fit in with appraising? Well, like a detective, we have to gather many, many clues to research what we appraise. If I see a painting that seems to be very old, ONE of the clues I use are costume, and appearance of the subject. If a lady sports a patch box, I would use that clue to help date the painting from the 1700’s.