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Among these is the long-standing major French firm of J Kugel, which now operates from a grand Left Bank town house, the Hôtel Collot, on the Quai Anatole France.

This firm has a tradition of putting on researched single-subject exhibitions at this time of the year, usually accompanied by a scholarly catalogue.

Neapolitan focus

For 2018 the choice is Neapolitan piqué work: objects composed of tortoiseshell inset with gold and mother of pearl produced for the court of Charles de Bourbon in Naples.

These 18th century objets de luxe were a tour de force of the master craftsmen, known as tartarugari, who were able to soften and mould the tortoiseshells and inlay the highly detailed scenes often featuring grotesques, chinosieries and singeries (scenes of monkeys engaging in human activities).

Giuseppe Sarao, the most famous tartarugaro, had his own workshop adjoining the palace walls in Naples.

Kugel has assembled more than 50 pieces for the exhibition ranging from €10,000-200,000, with several by Sarao. The Sarao items include the casket and ewer shown here as well as a masterwork in this technique: a table that has been lent to the show by the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

Piqué runs from September 12-December 8.