This page is for people who have found the website but are not members

Please note that the BCCS does not give valuations,
and cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss
resulting from advice given by members

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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 appreciated.

Thank you,
Maria Mills

Heidi Melhuish replies:

According 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

Hi All - 

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,


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 several times a year.


27th February 2013

Hi -
Can you tell me the name of the tune on front of this compact please?


Heidi Melhuish replies:

It is "Happy Birthday"

19th February 2013

I found this compact in some items from an auction, don't know the history of it but would love 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 consideration. 

Barbara Shuford


17th February 2013

I have 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 recognise it and who is the maker please?

Thank you,
Colin Bruce


February 16th 2013 

Hi - 

I 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 a sticker on the mirror that says "Thorens....Happy Birthday To You...Switzerland. There is inscribed on the rim of the mirror "Made 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 sits on 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 similar to 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 any information I can receive to pass on to her would be great. Although, 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.

Many Thanks,
Becky Mouland






Jenny Duncan replies:

Your friend is lucky to be receiving such an original gift for her birthday! I’m 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 collection?

February 16th 2013

Hello -

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.

I appreciate 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 anticipation,
Bob Richardson

Juliette Edwards replies:

Hello Bob -

What a 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 expertise.

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!

Bob says:

I have 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'!

Many thanks 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 boar's head mark - 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 x 7.5cms. 

Thank you very much,
Claire Lough

Jenny Duncan replies:

Your beautiful compact is very unusual with its charming applied decoration. I suggest you have fun researching French silver marks, there are books and websites with information about silver marks.  You may also wish to take the compact to a reputable silversmith or jeweller for a valuation.


January 31st 2013

Hello -
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,
Sophia Ghonim.


Jenny Duncan replies:


Your 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.

It 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 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.

Best wishes,
Emma Way

Jenny Duncan replies:

It 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 online 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, where 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.

Elizabeth Batho replies:  

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 this helps.

Heidi Melhuish replies:

I use the "original"  Mr. Sheen.    

January 18th 2013

My father has recently given me some items that belonged to my Gran, including this pretty shell shaped compact. He bought it for her for Christmas 1958/59. I would be so happy to know more about it.

Thanks in advance for any information.

Kind regards,

Jenny Duncan replies:

Your shell-shaped 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 Harlesden, 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, 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 fascinating things.


I 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.

My 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 overall. 

I 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.

Kind regards,

Amanda Fullerton , Australia.

Juliette Edwards replies:

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 the 1990s.

This particular lid decoration was also used for many years: in the 1969 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

Hi -
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 1940s to early 1950s, but like I said that is just a guess. Thanks y'all!

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 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.

Jennifer "Toto" Cisneros

Jenny Duncan replies:

Your compact is an interesting one with an unusual “cracked ice” or crazed finish and I’m 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.

Additional information from Jenny Duncan:

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 goldtone finish and a black enamel finish with rhinestones on the lid.



7th November 2012

Hello there -
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,

Jenny Duncan replies:

I don’t 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.


6th November 2012

Hello -
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 hallmarks visible. If there were 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 than silver?

I would be most grateful for your advice on this matter.

Kind regards

Jenny Duncan replies:

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, 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

Hello -

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 your time,
Andrew Bunney

Jenny Duncan replies:

Andrew’s 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 online 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 actually being made in the UK.

19th October 2012

Hello -

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 thing I know about this beautiful compact is 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. 

Many thanks,
Nancy P.

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 five ladies on the lid, the interior just has the metal spring lid.
The other is a "Zenette" Made In England and has what looks like a floral cross-stitch pattern on the lid. Interior has the nylon powder inset and felt puff. 
Both have mirrors in the lid. I have attached some photos and am hopeful that you could provide some 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.
Kind regards,
Liz McCutcheon

Jenny Duncan replies:

 You have 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 II with a variety of styles in goldtone 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 pre-war.

Compacts 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 collectables!

5th October 2012



A request from Keith Edwards.

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

23rd September 2012

A query from Bruce Strickland - can anyone help? He would like to know the name of this Wedgwood design.


From Member Norah Fitzcharles:

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.

The Story of Cupid and Psyche


Once 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.

Her 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.

Soon 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.

For 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.

Cupid 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.

Unable 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.

She 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.

Psyche 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 ground.

By 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.

While 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.

19th September 2012

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 from you. 

Kind regards,
Jessica  Simmons



Jenny Duncan replies:

I hope your mother enjoys her silver-tone Kigu.  To learn about the fascinating history of this British company, please look on this website, 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! 

16th September 2012

Could anyone please offer some information on the attached Stratton Compact? This was my grandmother's, although I do not know for how long she had it.

It has Pat No. 562662 No. 530653 written along the inner hinge. I have searched for others like this, but have not been able to find any.

Any information, dating etc, will be much appreciated. 

Many thanks and kind regards,


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?

 Many thanks,


I have just come across this KIGU compact in my grandmother's 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.

I 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.

Thanking you in advance,

Dayna Hildreth,
New Zealand


Jenny Duncan replies:

Dayna has a very pretty compact made by the British company Kigu. To learn about the fascinating history of this company, please look on this website, 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 1950s 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.

Thank you and w
ith best wishes,
Jennie Bisset

Jenny Duncan replies:

Thank 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.

However, 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.   Gwenda 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.

I 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.

The 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”. 

Although 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.

As 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!

As 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!

14th September

Follow-up from Jenny Duncan:

Since 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!

Reply from Jennie Bisset:

Thank 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 paperweight. I 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

I have come across these two cases, which I believe to be my grandmother's. I just wondered if you could give me any more info on them - i.e. a rough date.

The one with the flowers, 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.

The 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.

Kind Regards,
Jeanette Szekeres-Pate

Jenny Duncan replies:

I’m 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 powder.

It 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 alignment. Your 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!

The “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.


Stratton 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 about the year it was made. I have found other vintage ones with a dancer on the front but none like the this one.

Thank you,
Jennifer Glover



Jenny Duncan replies:

You 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 goldtone 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

Hello -

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,
Mary Durieu



Jenny Duncan replies:


I 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 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?


Jenny Duncan replies:  

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.



Hello -

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 before her.

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



Juliette Edwards replies: 

Stratton were exported very extensively. Knowing the size would help identification but, from the internal mark, it is certainly pre-1953.


Hi there -
I am sending you this email all the way from New Zealand. 

I have three compacts that I am hoping someone might be able to give me some information on.

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 "Convertible" compact.  It has never been used and still has the - 'Inspected by FMG' . Not sure what the blue top is made of but the bottom is brass with "Stratton Made in England" and has the patent number Pat 764125.

Kind Regards,
Laura Kindley

Juliette Edwards replies: 

The Stratton with the enamelled base was probably made in the late 1940s or very early 1950s.
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

Here is picture of three lovely pieces I found on a street market here in Uruguay (South America) but I was unable to find information online.

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 regards,
Rodrigo Chagas



July 15th 2012


I wonder if your members can help me with some information about this compact.

About 2.25" 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 Zenette ENGLAND"

I should be grateful for any assistance your members can offer.

Best Wishes,

Juliette Edwards replies:

I have 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.

Yours faithfully,
Steve Hall


Juliette Edwards replies: 

This 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.


June 25th 2012


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.


Caroline Preston replies:

Hi Max,
I’m pretty certain it’s a modern compact probably dating from the 1980s or 1990s 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.
Best wishes and good luck with the collecting.

June 19th 2012

My name is Jacquie.  My mother gave this to me and I would like to know more about this piece of Stratton. The inside says the fallowing:
Pat 562662607648682247 RegDesign 880214
German Patent #852281
Pat Pending. 4513/53
Foreign pats pending  Made in England

Juliette Edwards replies:

The patents 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.


June 15th 2012


My name is Hammy from Korea.

I found your website searching for information on antique powder compacts.

I was wondering if you can please help me identify this compact.

Would you be able to find out the manufacturer of this product?

Thank you very much.

Best Regards,


PS from Geoff.  The lid has a groove/grooves such as you would find on an LP.


A question from non-member Lori




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 tortoiseshell.  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.



I have found your email address from the Compact Collectors website and
wonder if your society can tell me anything about the two compacts of which
pictures are attached. The square compact is by Emrich and the round one Stratton.

With thanks for any help you can give,
Marion Beresford

Juliette Edwards replies:

I'm afraid I can't identify the model of compact without more information or photos of the base and interior but the design on the lid, signed Suzy Seriau, was certainly in use around 1960.



I bought this Stratton powder case about 4 years ago at a second hand store and was unable to find it on the internet. My wife found your website and I was wondering if you could possible provide me with more info regarding this powder case.

The case displays two different patent numbers, one under the latch or button used to open the case (Pat no: 530653) and inside on the lower part of the lid (Pat no: 530653) and next to that the different one (Pat no: 562662).

On opening the powder compartment for the first time tonight, I found a note dated "1947" and a message on the back: "Just a small keepsake for the 2nd", and signed "Shirley".

Any info would be great!
Eddie Swart

Juliette Edwards replies:

This is interesting because the earliest documentary evidence I have for this model (which is known as a "Star") is a 1952 advertisement. No Stratton compacts were produced during WW II and post-war production did not resume until 1947, which coincides with the date on your note. The patents to which you refer were granted in 1941 and 1944, and relate to the catches. This compact appears to be one of the first of Stratton's new models for the post-war market. The commercial use of copper (a component of the alloy used for compacts) was restricted and I believe that many "fancy goods" such as this were exported as part of Britain's efforts to pay off the huge national debt caused by the war.  



Hello, I found your email address on a Ladies Compact Club website. I was hoping that you could help me identify or give me any information on a compact that I have.

Thank you for your time and help.

Christina Martinez
Mustang, Oklahoma USA

Heidi Melhuish replies:

A compact with this design but in a green colourway is featured on page 119 of Laura Mueller's Compacts, Carryalls and Face Powder Boxes. It is described as an unmarked Evans and reference is given to an advert of 1929. The flowers are very like some on a compact I have in my collection which is marked Evans. I hope this information is of help.



I recently came across a beautiful Stratton compact seen in this picture, but I can't seem to find the patent number. I was wondering what year this might have been made? Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Juliette Edwards replies:

I can say that the pattern on the base of the compact indicates that it dates from the late 1980s to the end of Laughton-owned production in 1997.

It is very common for later models in particular not to have patent marks. It's a pretty compact and appears to be in nice condition, though not rare and of modest value.


I am looking for some info regarding a Stratton compact I bought about 30 years ago. I have not been able to find out anything about it. It has the St. Edward crown on the front. As this crown is used only for coronations, I'd be interested to know when it was issued by Stratton. I have had suggestions of 1953, 1937 or even 1911, but I don't know if Stratton even made compacts before the 1920s. The compact has a sifter, no puff and the paint (crown) is starting to crack.

Thank you and regards,

Juliette Edwards, founder of the Society replies:

I can give an answer to this question because I have the same compact. 

It dates from 1952/53, presumably made as a souvenir of Queen Elizabeth ll's coronation in 1953.  Other features confirm this dating.

Some manufacturing materials were still in short supply during this late austerity period and I believe that Stratton used a "duff" batch of either coloured 'enamel' (actually a paint) or clear lacquer, into which the finished lid was dipped to seal the 'enamel'.  Either would have caused the blue finish to craze and lift.

I have prevented further deterioration to mine (so far) by spraying it lightly with aerosol lacquer sold for spraying alloy car wheels.

Store your compacts in a dry, moderate temperature as excess of heat (expansion), cold (contraction) or humidity could exacerbate the situation.

Good Luck !


Can you help with any info on a Stratton 1950s compact. I have attached a photo, there are two musicians - one is playing the trumpet the other the accordion, they have 6 and 4 small diamonds below the musicians, Patent no. 562662596236607648. I believe it was given by late stepmother's first husband who was a musician. Do you know the piece of music score that it is on it? I think it could be 'Happy Birthday to You'.

Any help would be most appreciated,

Karin Hepburn

Heidi replies:

The score is definitely the score your mention; Geoff has just played it on his guitar.

Dr. Mike Ashton replies:

This number is actually 562662; 596236; 607648.  These three GB patents were filed by Stratton in January 1943; January 1945; and February 1946 respectively and all relate to the catches.

Heidi adds:

These dates do not necessarily indicate the year a compact was made.  Compacts could well have been made for some years after with these patent numbers on the cases.

I have a compact with a lady with a fan painted on enamel, with a signature which looks like S Stratton. However, the compact has no maker's mark inside, although it does say MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN just above the mirror on the inside of the lid.  Do you have any idea of its vintage and is it a Stratton compact?  

Many thanks,
V Rosenthal


Juliette Edwards replies:

I feel sure that it's a Mascot. The base, with that rectangle in the centre, is typical of compacts made by A.S. Brown, sometimes marked ASB, sometimes Mascot, sometimes simply not marked.

Stratton almost always marked the name inside.

Heidi replies;

The signature looks like S. Sutton. It may well be worth doing some research on Google under that name/artist.

Laura writes:

We are clearing out my Mum's house and came across these compacts.  I love them and was wondering what you could tell me about them? I have found out some info about the ballerina collection but would love any further info on this individual piece.

Juliette Edwards replies

The one at top centre is the hardest to date because that shape case, known as a "Princess" was produced for about 4 decades and floral decorations, with and without a vase, were used frequently. I'd need to see the interior and base to suggest a date.

The rectangular compact with the pretty goldfinches on thistles is a "Star". This model case seems to have been limited to the 1950s. I have one like this and - judging by other features such as markings on the base and interior - I believe mine dates from the early 1950s (although I'd have to see more details of yours to be exact).

The delightful ballerina (wish it was mine!) is another "Princess" case, decorated with a portrait of Svetlana Beriosova in "The Sleeping Beauty".
According to Jenny, the BCCS newsletter editor and ballet expert, the decoration is taken from a portrait of the dancer by the Court photographer, Baron, published in 1955 in a book of his photos called "Gala Performance" and first used by Stratton in 1957.

Three nice compacts to start a collection!