‘The ‘Asturias Adventure’ is a charming butterfly wing powder compact dating from c.1940.
This compact has the wing of the blue morpho butterfly from South America making the background for the scene of the ship at sea. The compact features the ship ‘Asturias’ which has been reverse painted with butterfly wings acting as the background sky and water. The butterfly wings have been expertly mounted at different angles so that the sky and water appear separate and distinct.
It dates from around the 1940’s and has a silver metal setting. There is no maker's mark.
The morpho butterfly wings were specifically chosen last century because of their beauty and the way they catch the light. It is very difficult to catch the iridescence of the wings in the photographs. The way the tiny scales catch and reflect the light is remarkable. Incidentally, the wings have no colour at all – the scales catch the light, much like the sky, and refracts the light to appear the blue colour – remarkable!
The Asturias itself was first a mail ship and then a passenger ship and was in use from 1925 to 1957. When the ship had two funnels (as shown on the compact) it was sailing as a civilian emigrant ship from Britain to Australia in the mid 20th century. There is a wonderful website with lots of information about the ship here:
The compact measures just over 4.5cm square and is just under 1cm deep. It is in good condition for its age with a small amount of tarnishing to the under side. The butterfly wings are in excellent condition. The compact still has its original pad.
This charming item has had a wonderful adventure from Britain to Australia. Who knows where its journey will end…