note that the BCCS cannot be held responsible
any damage or loss resulting from advice given by members
page is for people who have found the website but are not members.
CAN JOIN HERE
NOTE: WE DO NOT GIVE VALUATIONS.
8th March 2013
|I just acquired this
compact and lens case. I am trying to learn the date and the
art/artist on the top. Any help or direction will be
to the "Stratton Identification Key" a reference book
by Society founder Juliette Edwards; " Stars with central
name - Appears to have been in use mid-1960s to early 70s."
1st March 2013
I came across this
compact and wondered if anyone can shed any light on the style
and age of it. I haven't been able to find it anywhere on the
reference sites available on the internet. Is it a rare one
Many thanks. Simon.
Jenny Duncan replies:
Thank you for the
photos of your attractive compact made by the British company
Stratton. I have one like it in my own collection and
although it is not a rare compact, because of its lid decoration
it is highly collectable. I’m not surprised that you
were unable to find information on the internet about your
compact, as the British Compact Collectors’ Society was formed
by Juliette Edwards to share information about compacts and to
encourage research about these attractive collectables.
Please consider joining the Society as members have access to
detailed information about Stratton and other compact
manufacturers on this website and in our newsletter Face
Facts published 4 times a year.
27th February 2013
Can you tell me the tune name on front of this compact
It is "Happy
19th February 2013
I found this compact
upon some items from an auction, don't know any history of it
but would love it if someone could shed some light on it. It
is a double sided mirror compact. The front appears
to be a cellulose material with brass trim, the back looks
like it is also brass with a separate brass ring around it. It
has a push brass clasp. I would love any information I can get
on this piece as I would like to find someone who would
appreciate it if it is a collectable. I understand you do not
give valuations, I am merely seeking history if anyone knows
more about it. Thank you in advance for your time and
17th February 2013
a mini compact which belonged to my Great Aunt. It is 1.5 Inches
in diameter, and 0.33 Inches thick and the top is made of blue
translucent enamel. Under the enamel there is what looks like an
Egyptian desert scene with a palm tree, the moon and a pyramid.
The top is magnetic but the base is not magnetic and looks like
brass. The hinge is intact and it closes well.
Is this from Egypt and what date would it be from? Do you
and who is the maker please?
have acquired this
musical compact and wondered if anybody could
give me any information about its please?
It is a round musical compact, more like a trinket box. There is
sticker on the mirror that says "Thorens....Happy Birthday
You...Switzerland. There is inscribed on the rim of the mirror
in Great Britain". On the engine turned base there are 3
bun feet and
of course the winding key. Inside there is a compact puff that
a cream coloured tray.
I have looked on the Kigu website and can't see this particular
compact on there. There is no Kigu mark but it does appear
other designs. The overall design makes me think it was produced
in the 50s, but the musical instruments engraved on the top may
have been popular in the 30s?
I have purchased the compact for a friends birthday present, so
information I can receive to pass on to her would be great.
as I'm sure you'll agree, the compact itself is stunning and I'm
hoping she will be pleased with it. I look forward to receiving
any news from your members.
At present, I am not a compact collector...but after perusing
your website may very soon be one.
friend is lucky to be receiving such an original gift for her
glad you have enjoyed browsing our website and also the
fascinating Kigu website. Although
you are right to think that your musical powder bowl was
produced in the 1950s, it wasn’t made by Kigu.
This style of dressing table container for loose powder
was almost certainly made by another British company called A.S.
Brown and your musical version dates from the mid-1950s.
The musical instrument design is great fun, but other
designs were made, including a pattern with a ballerina and some
with transfer-printed floral sprays. Thorens musical movements were used by other British
compact manufacturers, including perhaps the best known British
brand, Stratton. Have a fun time on your friend’s
birthday and maybe this will be the start of a compact
I attach a
picture of a stunning 'The Queen's Flight' Stratton compact
which has recently been donated to a charity shop in
which I volunteer. I have searched the sites of various
specialist dealers without success, and hope that you may be
able to help.
that you are unable to advise on value, but it would be
interesting to know the compact's date, and perhaps how/why it
was issued. I can't imagine that The Queen's Flight would
issue mementos, as do commercial airlines, so any information
you can give will be very welcome.
Thank you in
lovely donation to your charity shop! I'll tell you about the
compact itself and suggest you follow up The Queen's Flight
connection via military sources as that's outside my
Your photo of
the base of the compact is very helpful because it enables me
to date it to the last years of Stratton production
in the UK, the late 1980s to the late 1990s. Special
commissions were one of the company's mainstays in its later
years and the compact you have is typical, ie. it is a
standard compact case with coloured enamel chosen by the
customer and further embellished with the customer's emblem or
logo- in your case, the addition of an enamelled badge. Special
commissions were often given as promotional items or as a
souvenir of a significant occasion; military occasions
could include Ladies' Night in the Officers' Mess, for
example. I can't suggest a value, of course, and you should
bear in mind that it's not of the vintage that many
collectors prefer, but it has its appeal and I would advise
you to discover more about The Queen's Flight and concentrate
on collectors of RAF and aeronautical memorabilia. I think
you'll maximise its potential value that way. Good luck
finding the right buyer!
today received a very helpful reply from Juliette Edwards
which I will pass on to my Manager, but I will also
personally pursue Juliette's suggestions in my own time as
our shop is not allowed access to the internet by the
'powers that be'!
for your help with my query, and please also pass on my (and
my local AgeUK's) thanks to Juliette.
February 8th 2013
|I wonder if anyone could
help me. I was given this pretty silver with gold decoration
compact. It is obviously French and of quality. It has the
gold and silver French mark. Every part is stamped with a
diamond shaped mark (likely the maker’s mark) and the
French silver mark- boar's head; the maker’s mark is too small
for me to see. I would like to know if is a common compact and
does anyone know anything about it. It is approximately. 7.5cms
Thank you very
|Jenny Duncan replies:
Your beautiful compact
is very unusual with its charming applied decoration.
I suggest you have fun researching French silver marks and there
are books and websites with information about silver marks.
You may also wish to take it to a reputable silversmith or
jeweller for a valuation.
January 31st 2013
I have two compacts. One is a Stratton Aristocrats compact. The
other is by Kigu and has its original pouch and box.
Unfortunately, the name Kigu is not stamped anywhere on the
compact. I was told it is around 60 years old. Have you seen this
design before? I would like to know how old these two compacts are
and whether you have any backstory on them?
Thank you for all your help- it is much appreciated.
Hope to hear from you soon.
compacts make a good start to a collection.
Our founder Juliette Edwards has written extensively about
the British company Stratton and has made her research available
to BCCS members, so to find out so much more please consider
joining us. Your Stratton
“aristocrats” is one of at least three designs in this style
used by Stratton depicting couples dressed in historical costumes
from the 16th, late 18th and, as on your
compact, 19th centuries.
Your compact is likely to date from the early 1950s.
is very difficult to tell from your photo whether your other
compact is indeed a Kigu. A
beige box printed with the Kigu trademark and the company’s
slogan “Compacts of Character” was certainly in use in the
late 1950s and around 1960, but I do not recognise the lid design
as being a Kigu. Sometimes
over the years compacts are separated from their original boxes
and returned to others. However,
if I find out more I’ll let you know.
Please take a look at the fascinating website http://www.vintage-compacts.com/
where a member of the Kiashek family, who founded Kigu,
tells the company’s story.
January 31st 2013
|My boyfriend gave me a
beautiful enamel powder compact (art deco, Birmingham silver
1931) for Christmas, but I am really struggling to find out how
to go about refilling it. I contacted the retailer (Linda
Jackson) who suggested I contact you at compact collectors.
Unlike the more common (it seems) Stratton compacts, my one is
smaller than average, less than 60 mm - I only have a basic tape
measure but it looks to be about 57mm.
I did see on your FAQs that modern Stratton compact
retailers do sell new sifters, but these are a different design
to mine, which does not have the rim around the powder well (in
fact, I don't quite know how a sifter would fit in my compact
but they must have done once surely?! Anyway, any advice
on how to refill the compact would be very gratefully received!
I look forward to hearing from you.
sounds as if you have a really lovely present and I hope it may
inspire you to seek out other art deco powder compacts, which
were made in a wide variety of designs on base metal as well as
in precious metals. Your
compact would certainly have had a sifter, which combined with
the powder puff to help retain loose powder.
The smallest modern sifter I have come across is 50 mm
diameter and is not available separately, but is part of a
modern loose powder plastic compact made by Mary Quant. The
compact is sold without powder.
The sifter has a nylon mesh and the sifter frame has a
foam edge. This is
sold on-line and from the Mary Quant shop in Duke of York’s
Square, King’s Road, London.
However, a wire framed sifter is likely to be needed for
your compact and you may wish to seek further advice by
contacting The Compact Clinic at http://www.thecompactclinic.co.uk/,
as many of our members have had compacts successfully repaired.
January 25th 2013
|Carole Anne asks;
How can she safely remove a sale sticker mark from the front of
a lovely vogue vanities compact.
There is a product
called 'Sticky Stuff remover'. I have a bottle, got it
from 'Betterware' it's amazing and doesn't harm anything.
Hope it helps.
Very best wishes.,
I use the
"original" Mr. Sheen.
|My father has recently
given me some items that belonged to my Gran;
including this pretty shell shaped compact. He bought it for her
Christmas 1958/1959. I would be so happy to know more about it.
in advance for any information.
compact is a lovely gift and many of us have started compact
collecting because of a pretty compact that had belonged to a
member of the family. Your compact was made by the
British company Kigu, which had a factory in Harlesdon, West
London and made high quality compacts and cigarette cases,
which were popular as special presents. It is a shape that
Kigu called “Bolero”. If you follow this link, http://www.vintage-compacts.com/
you will be taken to a website set up by a member of the
Kiashek family, who founded Kigu. You will find a history of
the company and in a catalogue for 1960 you will see pictured
the “Bolero” style, although as you know it was also on
sale in the late 1950s. Kigus are highly collectable, so
this would be a great start to a compact collection, so I do
hope you will consider joining us to find out more about these
have just come across your page while researching Stratton
compacts. I purchased my compact at a thrift shop, it is
in lovely condition and caught my eye immediately…..I had no
idea that they were such collectables.
compact is gold with a rose on the front, it comes in a black
pouch and a fawn coloured box with a cream lid.
There is no powder or puff, but the sifter is still enclosed,
apart from a few very minor marks it is in excellent condition
would be grateful if you could tell me a little bit more about
the age of the compact and a rough idea of its value.
I'm pleased to hear that
Amanda has found a compact which obviously gives her pleasure.
If this compact has a diameter of about 3 inches it is known as
a "Princess", if it is about 3.5 inches diameter it is
a "Queen". Both models were made from the 1950s until
This particular lid
decoration was also used for many years: in the1969 catalogue it
is described as "Embossed rose design on linen
finish". A silver-plated version was also available. It was
still available in the early 1980s, so I'm afraid I cannot give
you a specific date; however, judging by the box and black felt
pouch, I would estimate that it comes from the 1970s.
I hope this
information is helpful and that it will inspire you to collect
more beautiful compacts.
21st November 2012
I was hoping y'all
could give me any info on the compact in the pictures. All I
know is that it belonged to my Grandma, and since she
graduated high school in 1950, I figure it has to be from
the late 1940's to early 1950's, but like I said that is
just a guess.
I am in beautiful
Austin, Texas. I had originally contacted a nice lady
by the name of Mrs. Laura Dickinson, who owns Rose
Petal Resources with her husband Dave, who I found
doing a Google search for compacts that looked anything like
the one I have. Though she couldn't help me, she told me she
was a proud member of your organization, and gave me the
link for the non-members page.
Your compact is an
interesting one with an unusual “cracked ice” or
crazed finish and I’m only sorry that I am unable to
offer information that sheds light on its origins.
These cylindrical or bolster style compacts were certainly
made in the late 1940s and 1950s and at this time
manufacturers sometimes used this same construction of
case for either a powder compact or cigarette case.
So many of us have begun compact collecting because of a
compact from a grandmother or our mother, and such
personal items are both a source of nostalgia and may be
the start of a fascinating journey into fashion and
women’s social history. If I’m able to find out
more I’ll certainly post it onto our website.
information from Jenny Duncan below
I said that
if I find out more about your compact that I’d let you
know. Now I have remembered where I’ve seen this
style! At our Convention 2011, compacts from
the 1950s were exhibited. Referring to the
exhibition catalogue I can see that the same
bolster-style compact with this cracked-ice enamel
finish was displayed. It was made by the American
company Kotler & Kopet, known as K & K, and
likely to date from the early 1950s. Although the
case may not be marked with the maker’s name or
initials, sometimes the ribbon on the powder puff is
signed “K & K”, so it is worth checking to see
if this is so on the puff with your compact.
This shape of case was also made in a plain gold-tone
finish and a black enamel finish with rhinestones on the
7th November 2012
I was wondering if perhaps you could help me. I have
attached pictures of a compact that I have and was wondering
if you have seen one like this before. There are no
markings on it that I can find. The portrait of Napoleon
appears to be hand painted on porcelain? or something
similar. The powder puff has a leather top with a little
ring on it and the puff is made from some type of
feathers. I have no idea how old it is or where it was
made and was hoping that maybe you would have some
information. Thank you very much for your time.
have this type of deep-bodied powder container in my
collection, but as far as I can tell from your photos, I
think your compact employs a lid construction from the early
1920s to hold the mirror and a ceramic plaque in place.
The powder puff is made from swansdown and the leather top
is the skin from the bird. Down puffs may be beautiful
and luxurious, but their manufacture involves the rearing
and slaughtering of swans and geese. Skins are cleaned
and degreased and then cut into squares before being sewn
into puffs. The ring on the puff is likely to be ivory
held in place by a brass ring. This type of puff
was in use in the early decades of the 20th century and most
down puffs were made in France. The construction of
the lid and its subject matter would also indicate French
manufacture. It’s an unusual piece and if I can find
out more, I’ll certainly let you know on our website.
I wonder if you could
please advise me on this compact?
My query is as to whether
it is silver or not. It seems tarnished as silver would
tarnish, but there appears to be no hall marks visible. If
there should be hallmarks, where could I expect to find
them? Were hallmarks sometimes placed in different places?
Or were some of these compacts made with materials other
I would be most grateful for your advice on this matter.
From the catch on the inner
lid of your compact it looks as if your compact is by the British
manufacturer Kigu. Kigu made very beautiful sterling
silver compacts as well as silver and gold-plated compacts.
All sterling silver is hallmarked, but plated articles are not.
It is difficult to tell from your photo, but the interior seems to be
gold-tone in colour and I wonder if your compact is silver plated and
efforts to clean it have removed some of the silver plating to reveal
the base metal underneath? Unless you are certain that your
compact is silver, please never clean it with silver polish as you
will remove its protective lacquer and ruin it.
Please take a look at the Kigu website http://www.vintage-compacts.com/.
Go to “Photo Gallery” and click on “Products 1950-60s” and
then “Sterling Silver Series”. You will find a compact in
the 51 Series Cat. Ref. 51-106, which resembles your compact, but is
in Sterling Silver. You will see the hallmarks very clearly
visible on the right-hand side below the catch in the inner lid.
It is possible that Kigu also sold a silver-plated version, but
without further research I cannot be certain of this.
29th October 2012
I found your website
whilst looking for info on Strattons.
I wondered if you might know of anyone still producing
compacts or cigarette cases in the UK...?
Thank-you very much for
question is an interesting one because the present-day
Stratton company was represented at our Annual Convention on
13th October, 2012 and the company’s publicity information
stated that, “Stratton appointed In Touch Marketing in
2009 to exclusively represent their brands in the UK and
Ireland retail markets...”. Mark Riddle, Managing
Director of In Touch Marketing Ltd. displayed the
Stratton for Lulu Guinness licensed collection as well as a
selection of Stratton Italian Leather items, which included
travel pouches and handbag pens. If you click on
“Links” on our website, you will find some stockists of
modern Stratton compacts and the Lulu Guinness range is also
available on line and in her Ellis Street shop in London.
As far as I
know, while the brand continues in Britain, Stratton powder
compacts are not currently manufactured in the UK. At
the present time, I do not know of any compacts being made
in the UK.
19th October 2012
I recently found The British Compact Collectors' Society website
while trying to gather information about a compact that my Aunt
(who was born in 1900) left to me. The only things I
know about this beautiful compact are that it is silver and from
Italy, as those words are stamped along the side. It is in good
condition on the outside but unfortunately the mirror has become
detached on the inside.
I am attaching photos of the compact and would very much
appreciate any information you can share with me about it.
12th October 2012
|I found you online and
was wondering if you could give me any information on two ladies
compacts that I have.
One is "Gwenda" British made and has a floral design
with 5 ladies on the lid, interior just has the metal spring
The other is a "Zennette" Made In England and
has what looks like a floral cross stitch pattern on the
Interior has the nylon powder inset and felt puff.
Both have mirrors in the lid.
I have attached some photos and would be hopeful if you could
expand any information on them, they belonged to my late mum who
had them since she was a young girl. She would have been
93 last month so that gives an indication of how old they are.
Many thanks in advance if you can help.
two very attractive compacts, which are likely to date from the 1950s.
Gwenda is a British brand and their products were made by a
Birmingham based company called Hussey Dawson Ltd. They
were first popular in the 1930s, when the products were simply
constructed and were inexpensive. Production
resumed after World War 2 with a variety of styles in gold-tone metal
and your Gwenda with a scalloped edge is less common. From
your photo, it looks as if the transfer-printed ladies on the lid are
wearing different styles of period costume.
What do you think?
If you scroll down this page
you will see that our founder Juliette Edwards has answered a question
on Zenette, stating that she has documentary evidence of Zenette's
existence in the 1950s, but suspects that they were also in production
that had belonged to our mothers can be a starting point for a
collection – it certainly was for me - and by joining the BCCS you
will be able to learn far more about these really attractive
A request from Keith
I purchased this
compact at an antique flea market for my daughter in law.
It's marked 800. It is engraved the same on both sides.
Can you tell me anything about this? Would it have taken
pressed or loose powder? Any info would be appreciated.
Jenny Duncan replies:
Your daughter in
law has a very attractive compact. These rococo style patterns of
leaves and flowers can be found on some compacts and lipstick cases,
believed to be of Italian origin. As it is marked 800, it is
possible that your compact is silver, as these numerals may be found on
some Italian silver, indicating the fineness of the silver.
Without photos of the interior it is not possible to tell whether it was
made for loose powder. To find out more about Italian
silver, please take a look at this fascinating website by American
compact collectors and art historians http://www.davidandnoelle.net/Italian800Compacts.htm
|A query from Bruce
Strickland; can anyone help?
He would like to know
the name of this Wedgwood design.
has sent in the
Regarding the Stratton
compact with the Wedgewood design of Cupid and Psyche. I am
attaching the story behind the design and the source from which
I got this story- hope it is of some help to Bruce.
Story of Cupid and Psyche
upon a time there lived a maiden so beautiful that she was
thought to be lovelier than even Venus, Goddess of Love. Venus,
out of jealousy, commanded that her son, Cupid, ensure that no
man would ever love her. Cupid went to Psyche, but accidentally
stuck himself with the tip of one of his arrows, and fell in
love with her. He followed his mother's orders, making it so
that no man would look upon her with love, and then he left.
family, surprised to find that their daughter was no longer
sought by any suitor when before men had travelled some distance
to court her, consulted the oracle of Apollo. The Oracle said
that the daughter had angered the Gods in some way, and must be
sacrificed to a monster to appease them. In sorrow, they took
their daughter to the top of a nearby mountain and left her
there, to await her fate.
Zephyr, the God of the winds, came along and carried her along
to a beautiful palace. A voice addressed her, though she saw no
one, and it instructed her to enjoy the house and grounds around
her. At night, when she retired to bed, she was joined in her
bed by a lover, who said he was her husband but that she must
never look upon him. He was gentle, but he was gone by morning.
some time Psyche lived like this, though she often requested to
see her husband's face. He would cover her in a gentle blanket
and refuse to let her see. Finally, one night Psyche kept an oil
lamp nearby, and when she knew her husband to be asleep she lit
the lamp. Lying in her bed was the God Cupid, and what she had
taken as a soft blanket was his wings. In her shock, she spilled
a drop of hot oil and it dropped onto his shoulder.
awoke, and was angry with Psyche for breaking his command to not
look upon him. He fled, and abandoned her. She chased after him,
but as she could not fly she was soon left behind.
to find her husband again, Psyche went to Venus, his mother, and
begged her for help. Venus, who was still angry at the mortal,
refused to help unless Psyche agreed to perform labours to show
her devotion. Psyche agreed and was set about a number of tasks.
was asked to sort out a storehouse full of grains by their type.
Despairing, she asked for aide, and an army of ants came to help
her, sorting the grains out. She was next directed to gather a
handful of wool from some wild and dangerous sheep. Again, she
asked for aide, and the briars by the riverside told her to
wait, and after the sheep had drunk, she could gather the wool
from their briars that they had pulled out. Venus was not happy
to find that the girl had performed her tasks so well. For a
final task she gave Psyche a box, and told her to go to see
Proserpine, wife of Hades, God of the underworld, and ask for a
little of her beauty.
travelled to the underworld and met the Queen of the dead, who
gave her a box, commanding her not to open it. Psyche travelled
out of hell again, but on her way, felt that she had worked so
hard for so long that she deserved some reward. She thought to
open the box and take a little of the beauty out for her own
use. However, when she opened the box she found instead that
what lay inside was a deathly sleep, and she collapsed on the
this time Cupid had recovered from his wound, and was sorry he
had left Psyche in such a manner. He sought out to find her, and
discovered her laying as if dead. He went to her, brushed away
the sleep from her body, and embraced her again.
Psyche brought the box to Venus as requested, Cupid went to the
Gods and pleaded for their help. After hearing his tale, the
Gods agreed to make Psyche one of their own. She was given a cup
of ambrosia to drink, to make her an immortal, and butterfly
wings so that she might fly alongside her husband.
I have recently
purchased an old KIGU compact for my mother, who likes to
collect powder compacts.
Do you have any
information regarding dates etc?
Look forward to hearing
hope your mother enjoys her silver-tone Kigu.
To learn about the fascinating history of this British company,
please look on this website www.vintage-compacts.com
where a descendant of the founder of Kigu tells the company's story. You
will also be able to download some catalogues from the company’s
archive and look to see if you can find your compact.
Kigus were of very good quality and now are highly collectable.
I hope you and your mother consider joining us as there is so much to
learn about compacts and so much fun in sharing what we can find out!
Could anyone please
offer some information on the attached Stratton Compact?
This was my Grandmothers, although I do not know for how
long she had it.
has Pat No. 562662 No. 530653 written along the inner hinge.
I have searched for anther like this, but have not been able
to find any.
information, dating etc, will be much appreciated.
31st August 2012
Hello, I wondered
if you might be able to provide some information on the face powder
compact shown. It is engraved with 'Gwenda' 'Made in England' and has a
resin coated back?
have just come across this KIGU compact in my Grandmothers belongings
and would love to have some history on it. She was born in 1904 and
raised in USA- although did travel internationally on a few occasions.
would love to pass it to my children, but would love to know more
about it as I can’t find any with the ivory on the internet.
you in advance.
has a very pretty compact made by the British company Kigu. To
learn about the fascinating history of this company, please look on this
where a descendant of the founder of Kigu tells the company's story.
To the best of my knowledge the finely detailed insert is not ivory, so
you can be assured that no elephant died for it. I have a round
Kigu in my collection with a similar insert in a design of wood nymphs
and I think it is a type of plastic, possibly celluloid. Although
Dayna's compact is not an antique, as it was likely to have been made in
the 1950s, Kigus are highly collectable. This is a lovely item to
treasure and be the start of a compact collection.
15th August 2012
I am researching the artist
Carlotta Edwards 1894 - 1977, who painted many ballet subjects which
were mainly reproduced as prints and seem to have been sold world
wide. Her pictures are also to be found on trays, jigsaws,
paperweights etc. and I was wondering if you know whether any were
ever used on compacts. She seems to have been painting ballet
subjects from the early 1950's until at least 1971.
I tried to find the title of
Jenny Duncan's book about Ballet Compacts but without success !
I would be grateful for any help
you can give me.
With best wishes., Jennie Bisset.
you for your interesting enquiry about the use of images by Carlotta
Edwards on powder compacts. I’m
sorry you had a fruitless search for my “book” on ballet compacts,
which is mentioned on this website.
This was a privately printed booklet on the range of ballet
compacts produced by the British fancy goods manufacturer Stratton.
I have sold all my copies and it is now out of print.
I hope I can assist your research. I
think that two images by Carlotta Edwards were used by the British brand
Gwenda in the 1950s on cigarette cases and, most probably, powder
compacts and cigarette cases were made by a Birmingham based company
called Hussey Dawson Ltd. The
products were simply constructed and were inexpensive.
The lid pictures are printed on paper, which is protected by a
celluloid cover held in place by a gold-tone metal frame.
Although I have seen the images only on cigarette cases, I think
it highly likely that matching compacts were made and I would like to
have examples in my collection.
have seen on eBay a Gwenda cigarette
case with a Carlotta Edwards picture of Margot Fonteyn in Giselle. If you
google “Carlotta Edwards Margot Fonteyn Giselle” you will see a
number of images and on a blog called “sharonssunlitmemories” you
will see the picture which was used on a Gwenda cigarette case.
It is a solo ballerina in an approximation of Giselle’s costume
from Giselle Act 1. The name
“Fonteyn” appears below the dancer.
photo I’m attaching is a rectangular Gwenda cigarette case in my own
collection, depicting a ballerina in a scene from what appears to be Le Spectre de la Rose. I
know of no other ballet whose setting is a drawing room, against an open
window. Also, the dancer
holds a rose. The case
is marked “Gwenda British Made”.
I have been unable to confirm that this picture is by Carlotta Edwards,
I think it likely. Please
let me know what you think? The pose and dancer’s face is similar to
others by this artist. Some doubts arise when looking at the background
which is more detailed than her usual blue and green washes of colour.
The Margaret Rose powder compact
appears to depict the same scene, although not reproducing the art work.
The compact is marked “Margaret Rose” and “Made in England” and
is likely to date from the mid-1950s.
you mention in your email, you can find pictures by Carlotta Edwards
reproduced on table mats and trays, as well as being sold as framed
prints. They portray a
very soft, pretty vision of ballet, which was especially popular in the
1950s, when Romantic ballets such as Les
Sylphides and Pas de Quatre were
more frequently performed than now.
The majority of reproductions depict the beautiful “white”
acts of classical ballets. I’m
sure the pictures were loved by ballet-mad girls and are a source of
nostalgia for many women of a certain age!
an afterthought and general comment about Carlotta Edwards’s pictures,
I suggest that her treatment of ballet costumes is an approximation
rather than accurate. For
example, a portrait of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev currently shown
on eBay, Item No. 260783512477, appears from their pose and some aspects
of their costumes to show them in Marguerite
and Armand. Nureyev’s
costume looks right, but Fonteyn did not wear a white dress with black
sashes and black ribbons in this ballet.
The picture is signed 1963 and this ballet was first performed in
that year. The eBay
seller suggests that perhaps
it shows them in “Romeo and Juliet”, which is just another example
of how a buyer needs to take care on eBay, as Fonteyn and Nureyev first
performed Romeo and Juliet on 9th February
1965. I was there and
will never forget it.
from Jenny Duncan
responding to this question, I’m delighted that Jennie has joined the
BCCS and we’ve been in touch emailing and chatting about ballet,
compacts and Carlotta Edwards. We have talked about Margot Fonteyn’s
costume in Marguerite and Armand and while Jennie agrees that Margot did
not wear a white dress with black sashes and ribbons in performance,
I’ve learnt that Margot did wear this dress in an exclusive photographic
session before the first night. Until Jennie contacted me, I was unaware
of this, so I’m fascinated to know about it. Jennie acknowledges that
Carlotta Edwards sometimes used artistic licence with her backgrounds, but
thinks her costumes are fairly accurate. Isn’t the BCCS a brilliant way
of making new friends and finding out more!
from Jennie Bisset
you so much for your helpful reply to my question about Carlotta Edwards.
I hadn’t considered cigarette cases, so will now keep a look out for
those too. I can confirm that both the paintings which you say were used
by Gwenda, Spectre de la Rose and Fonteyn in Giselle Act I,
are by Carlotta Edwards. The Spectre picture is a mystery to me
too. I have only seen it severely cropped on a tablemat and on a
think, it is likely to be the Festival Ballet production and at the moment
I am guessing that the dancer might be Belinda Wright. I can see, as I spend more time researching, that a number of
Mrs Edward’s paintings seem to be based on photographs, so perhaps the
Margaret Rose compact and the painting were both inspired by the same
image! I am very grateful that you are willing to share your knowledge
with us all and delighted that I am now a member of the Society.
12th August 2012
come across these two cases, which I believe to be my Grandmothers. I
just wondered if you could give me any more info on them - ie a rough
one with the flowers on - a powder case - says on the inside of the
top casing "Made in KIGU England" and has circular grooves
on the bottom of the case.
square one, a pill box, says "Stratton Made in England"
on the bottom and has a sticker on the inside top cover, with
reference to what pills are advisable to keep in it. There
are also a pair of "mini tongues" inside.
afraid I had put your query to one side, because I don’t have an
accurate answer for you. I
haven’t seen this floral design on a Kigu before and I’ve been
unable to find it pictured in our small archive of Kigu catalogues.
From its shape, I think it is a Kigu compact called the
“Mayfair”, which was convertible for loose or solid powder. If
your compact doesn’t have a solid inner lid which opens to reveal a
powder well, then it is a convertible.
The “Mayfair” has a retaining ring to hold a pan of solid
is difficult to tell from your photo what the insert with
the floral design is made of, especially as it appears to be out of
picture shows the hinge on the left hand side, which suggests that the
insert has slipped round. If
you hold the compact as intended with the hinge at the top, then the
flowers are not placed correctly. Kigu
would never have positioned it in a way that the flowers were
not the right way up!
“Mayfair” was shown in catalogues 1959/1960 and was popular in the
mid-1960s. If you think
that the picture of roses is on a ceramic plaque , these were shown on
some Kigus, including the “Mayfair” in the 1965 catalogue.
However, not in the rose design of your compact.
pill boxes in this shape were certainly on sale 1959/60 and remained in
production for a long time, possibly until the late 1980s, but without
more research I am unable to confirm this.
August 10th 2012
I am trying to find information
on this Stratton Compact I have. I cannot find out anything on it
about the year it was made,. I have found other vintage ones with a
dancer on the front but none like the this one..
have an attractive Stratton ballet compact manufactured probably no
later than 1956. These
styles are difficult to find in good condition, as I think they were
well-loved by ballet mad young women and so often the transfer-print is
rubbed and flaking and the gold-tone is worn. They
are highly collectable. I’ve
written extensively about Stratton’s ballet compacts for our Society,
so to find out more about your compact and others in this range, please
consider joining us.
August 10th 2012
I was given this beautiful KIGU
compact by my late beloved grandma a few years ago.
This item is very special to me
because now that she's gone it makes me feel like I'm carrying a small
piece of her with me in my everyday life and also it still smells like
her a lot! :)
Also do you think this was sold
in France at the time? I'm French and my grandma never went to the UK.
I was wondering if maybe you
could tell me more about this object?
Thank you very much,
Best from Paris,
know that compacts can be a great source of nostalgia and fond memories.
Although manufactured in north west London, Kigu certainly had
agencies in France, as well as other European countries, the Far East,
North and South America and South Africa.
If your grandmother did not travel, it is highly likely then that
your Kigu was bought in France. To
learn about the fascinating history of this British company, please look
on this website www.vintage-compacts.com
where a descendant of the founder of Kigu tells the company's story. You
may be able to find your compact by browsing the downloadable catalogues
|Hi., I have a this
Stratton compact. The front is enamelled with a picture of a
ballerina. The label inside says Violetta Elvin in Sleeping
Beauty. It still plays and the powder puff is intact.
I wonder if you can tell me anything about it.
Jim has a beautiful
Stratton ballet compact from the mid-1950s, portraying one of
the stars of Sadler’s Wells Ballet in the post-war era.
I’ve written extensively about Stratton’s ballet compacts
for our Society, so to find out more about your compact and
others in this lovely range, please consider joining us.
A few days ago, I came across a box belonging to my late
grandmother when I was cleaning up some cupboards at my
grandfather's house. In the box I found a Stratton compact. I
asked my mother, and she remembered seeing it, but not my
grandmother using it, but she said it was old. I asked my
grandfather if he could remember it, and he said that she used
it back when they were still dating, which is roughly 60 years
ago. He also added they were pricey. I did a bit of researching
online and found out that Stratton was an English company. This
makes it more interesting, considering I found this compact in
the Netherlands. I couldn't find anything on the beautiful
design (cobwebs and flowers), but I do think this is meant for
loose powder. The condition of the compact is pretty bad, there
are a lot of scratches and discolourations, and I think the
button for the inner lid is missing. As my grandmother, even
back in the day, didn't wear a lot of make-up therefore my
mother thinks it's possible that my great-grandmother used it
I've included several photographs of the compact. I forgot to
take one of the back, which is rounded shaped and has a spiral
on it. The front of the compact has these tiny cracks, I believe
it's a certain style of finishing?
I hope that someone can provide some more information on this
compact, perhaps a guess of its age?
Kind regards, Loes den Otter, the Netherlands.
exported very extensively. Knowing the size would help
identification but, from the internal mark, it is certainly
I am sending you this email all the way from New
I have three compacts
that I am hoping someone might be able to give me some
The first is the enamel Stratton compact with the flowers on
top. It belonged to my grandmother. It has no
patent mark but does have a pure white enamel bottom.
The second one is an enamel Stratton compact with two birds on
top. It has no patent mark and the base appears to be
made of brass.
The third one is a Stratton "Convertable" compact.
It has never been used and still has the - inspected by
Not sure what the blue top is made of but the bottom is
brass with "Stratton Made in England" and has the
patent number PAT764125.
The Stratton with the
enamelled base was probably made in the late 1940s or very early
I have a blue version
of the "birds & oak leaves" measuring 3.5"
diameter. This is a "Muffin", known availability 1948-1953.
The blue Stratton has a
patent for 1956 which will apply to a component, not the entire
compact, so it cannot have been made earlier than 1956. FMG is an
inspection slip inserted before sale.
|July 28th 2012
An interesting trio
sent in by Rodrigo Chagas.
picture of three lovely pieces I found on a street market here
in Uruguay (South America) but I was unable to find
The oval one would be
the easiest as I think it is a Marcel Rochas sterling
silver (it has the Marcel Rochas inside and two marks on the
base - Made in France and a tiny almost illegible other sign.
The one with the little
couple has no makers mark inside or outside; except the
painter signature identifying the picture as a Fragonard.
The hexagonal one is the
most intriguing not only for its shape but for the fact it
only has a Made in USA inside an nothing else and I have not
been able to see any other like this online
Any assistance you can
provide will be much appreciated
Thanks in advance and
July 15th 2012
I wonder if your
members can help me with some information about this compact
square, it is a good weight and may be silver plate (I can find
no hallmark, but it looks like silver rather than chrome or
another metal). In the centre is the
cap badge of REME. Inside it is
inscribed "MADE IN Zennette
I should be grateful for
any assistance your members can offer.
documentary evidence of Zenette's existence in the 1950s, but
suspect that they were also in production pre-WW II. Compacts with
regimental badges such as this of The Royal Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers were popular during the War and during
National Service. If this compact, made in England, was made
of silver it would certainly be hallmarked.
|July 6th 2012
I have recently been
given a compact and lip stick holder set. I was informed it was
an eddy stone mallard magic set. it has a blue face with three
flying ducks, also the lip stick holder has the same
pattern. I would be very grateful for any information.
I'm finding this a very rare item, i have been searching a long
time, it's something I would like to sell this so any
information would be greatly appreciated regards Steve hall
I'm finding this a very rare item, i have been searching a long
time, it's something I would like to sell this so any
information would be greatly appreciated regards Steve hall
I'm finding this a very rare item, I have been searching a long
time. It's something I would like to sell so any information
would be greatly appreciated regards.
Yours faithfully Steve hall.
compact is not rare but the lipstick case is uncommon, so it's
more desirable as a set, particularly if still in a good
condition original presentation box. Likely to be 1950s/1960s.
|I recently purchased a
Stratton mirror compact and wonder if you might be able to help me
identify it's age.
I'd love to know roughly when it was made so if you can provide
any help that would be much appreciated.
pretty certain it’s a modern compact probably dating from
the 1980’s or 1990’s as I have a very similar Stratton one
(it has a different picture on the front) from that time which
came in an identical box with a grey velour pouch. It’s a
lovely compact though and I’m sure will make a great
addition to your collection.
wishes and good luck with the collecting.
June 19th 2012
My name is
My mother gave this to me and I would like to know
more about this piece of Stratton. The inside says the
pending Made in England
quoted were issued in 1944, 1948 and 1959, so the compact cannot
be earlier than 1959. The model is called a "Royale" and
was in production from the late 1950s until about the mid-1960s.
name is Hammy from Korea.
found your website searching for information on antique powder
was wondering if you can please help me identify this compact.
you be able to find out the manufacturer of this product?
you very much.
PS from Geoff. The lid
has a groove/grooves such as you would find on an LP.
A question from non-member
I found your
site last night and I'm hoping you might be able to help
identify the vintage compact in the attached photos. It
appears to be celluloid or tortoise shell. There is a
round mirror on the back and opens to reveal two mirrors on the
inside. The filigree work on the front has a beautiful
patina which almost looks like rose gold. Under the screen
it has the words "patent pending", but I can find no
other markings. It belonged to my aunt, who lived and
worked on Catalina Island during the big band era. She
worked in the casino and was engaged to a member of the Kay
Kyser band. Her stories of that time revealedthat all of
the big band members where a close knit group of people.
She had received gifts from Benny Goodman, a compact from Kay
Kyser and Bob Crosby, and this compact from her fiance, Heinz
Gunkler or "Heinie" for Christmas in 1933.
Thank you for any
information on a possible maker you can help with.