Jean Toutin, designer and engraver

I was fascinated by engravings for black and white enamelled miniature cases by Jean Toutin who worked from 1618 to 1640. The designs executed in 1619 were surrounded by other stories, for example, the design for a jewel placed on the back of a tortoise was above the engraving of two men wrestling and one applauding.


There seems to be no connection between the images except in one of the engravings where you can clearly see an enameller’s workshop with wooden floor grid to allow the gold filings to drop through to be swept up at the end of the day. Also the kiln with bellows and the master looking in to see how the firing was going with the apprentice behind, bellows under his arm ready to fan the flames when required.

Enamellers workshop

Designs for miniature casesdesigns for Miniatureinsect miniature case

Various images from the collection of designs for enamelled miniature cases 

Toutin miniature case

The actual miniature case of gold with black and white enamel with pea pod decoration in the V&A jewellery gallery collection, made about 1620 from one of Toutin’s designs.

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