The inscription along the top, "onessta fa belladonna," can be translated as, "Virtue makes a woman beautiful."
Inscription: Carved in relief on top: ONESSTÀ FA BELLA DONNA, or "Honesty [or Virtue] makes a woman beautiful" (as per Love and Marriage Exhibition Catalogue, p. 110).
(carved in relief on top) ONESSTÀ FA BELLA DONNA - "Virtue makes a woman beautiful"
written in pencil: (virtue in the [nella] beautiful woman; or; A (una virtuous woman?)
Professor Alessandro Bagnoli (Pinacoteca Nazionale SIena) saw the coffret in December 1988 and read the inscription ONESSTA FA BELLADONNA. Label changed to reflect this reading (F instead of N).
Frédéric Spitzer (d. 1890), Paris (until 1893); Maurice Chabrières-Arlès,Lyon and Paris (from at least 1903); George and Florence Blumenthal, Paris and New York (from at least 1927-1941)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Love and Marriage in Renaissance Italy," November 11, 2008–February 16, 2009.
Ft. Worth, TX. Kimbell Art Museum. "Love and Marriage in Renaissance Italy," March 15, 2009–June 14, 2009.
La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité, Moyen-Age, Renaissance. Vol. II. Mâcon: Imprimerie Protat Frères, 1890–1891. no. Coffrets 1, p. 339.
Spitzer, Frédéric, ed. La Collection Spitzer: Antiquité -- Moyen-Age -- Renaissance. Vol. 5. Paris: Maison Quantin, 1890–1893. no. Coffrets 1, p. 245, pl. I.
Catalogue des objets d'art et de haute curiosité: antiques, du moyen-âge & de la renaissance, composant l'importante et précieuse Collection Spitzer. Vol. 2. Paris: Chevallier and Mannheim, April 17–June 16, 1893. no. 2981, p. 215, pl. XXIV.
Rubinstein-Bloch, Stella. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, New York: Volume 4, Tapestries and Furniture, Mediaeval and Renaissance. Paris: A. Lévy, 1927. pl. XXXVII.
Bayer, Andrea, ed. Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. no. 40, pp. 110-111; 63, fig. 51 (detail).