Ball châtelaine

Unknown (probably French) artistend of 19th c.

The Wilanów Palace Museum

The Wilanów Palace Museum
Warsaw, Poland

French word 'châtelaine' means: wife of a castle landlord. Such objects were already known in the seventeenth century when women’s robes did not have pockets and the mistress of a large household tied onto her belt buckle (usually on assorted chains) various small items – keys, scissors, a watch - useful in her everyday busy life. Other hold-alls carried specialised equipment for women, e.g. for embroidering; for men they were more massive, with longer chains and, as a rule, with a watch and key attached. The presented unique hold-all, purchased from a private collection, is a variant pinned onto a ball gown and outfitted with a tiny notebook containing several white celluloid pages for jotting down the names of partners planned for successive dances, a sheath for a small pencil, a mirror, a glass bottle for a few drops of perfume, and a tiny bag for several coins. Such châtelaines became particularly popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: they were made out of silver and sometimes gold or metals imitating them.


  • Title: Ball châtelaine
  • Creator: Unknown (probably French) artist
  • Date Created: end of 19th c.
  • Location Created: France
  • Technique: Brass, die-cut, silver-plated, soldered; mirror, transparent glass; celluloid.
  • Physical Dimensions: w62 x h220 x d11 mm
  • Description: In Poland during 19th c. this object was called 'Szatelenka'.
  • Type: Silverwork
  • Rights: Wilanów Palace Museum, Photo: W. Holnicki

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