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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (mounts, made)
    Sèvres (porcelain, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1819-1838 (marked)
    ca.1765 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fossin, Jean-Baptiste (maker)
    Dodin, Charles-Nicholas, born 1734 - died 1803 (painter)
    Sèvres porcelain factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased gold and enamelled soft-paste porcelain

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.499-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 2, shelf 12

The charming scene decorating the top of this box is taken from Le berger et la bergère, a painting by François Boucher (1703-70), now in the Wallace Collection, London. The miniatures are thought to have been painted by Charles Nicolas Dodin, the preeminent painter at the royal porcelain factory of Sèvres, in 1765. Boucher's scenes of courtship and country life were a popular source of decoration for gold boxes.

An inscription around the bezel records that it was made by Fossin et Fils Joailliers du Roi a Paris, ca.1819-1838. The family firm of Fossin traded until 1862 when ownership was transferred to Prosper Morel and then to Maison Chaumet, still trading at 12 Place Vendôme, Paris.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world’s great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Oval, gold-mounted snuffbox, the cover, base and sides, of soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamel colours with scenes of rustic life and courtship after François Boucher.

Place of Origin

Paris (mounts, made)
Sèvres (porcelain, made)

Date

ca. 1819-1838 (marked)
ca.1765 (made)

Artist/maker

Fossin, Jean-Baptiste (maker)
Dodin, Charles-Nicholas, born 1734 - died 1803 (painter)
Sèvres porcelain factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Chased gold and enamelled soft-paste porcelain

Marks and inscriptions

lozenge mark, bull, profile head
Mark of J.-B. Fossin; Paris marks for 1819-38 for 3rd standard gold and excise mark for gold

Dimensions

Length: 8.7 cm, Width: 6.6 cm, Height: 4.5 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Earl of Rosebery. Viscount Bearsted, M.C.. S.J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Snuffbox with enamel scenes of rustic life. Gold, enamel and soft-paste porcelain, France, Jean-Baptiste Fossin, 1819-38.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Mentmore. 2 vols. Privately printed catalogue, Edinburgh, 1884, no.132.
Norton, Richard and Martin. A History of gold snuff boxes, London: Messrs. S. J. Phillips, 1938, pl. 22.
Snowman, A. Kenneth. Eighteenth century gold boxes of Europe, London: Faber, 1966, pl. 420.
Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983. 125p., ill. Cat. no. 66, pp.119-20. ISBN. 0961039809.
Snowman, A. Kenneth. Eighteenth century gold boxes of Europe, rev. ed., Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1990, pl. 521, p. 255. ISBN. 1851490728.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 48, pp. 148-51. ISBN.0875871623
Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 56, pl. 40. ISBN9781851775934
73
Schroder, Timothy. Gold boxes : from the Gilbert collection : an exhibition, Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986
49
Snowman, Kenneth A., A loan exhibition of eighteenth century gold boxes, London : Wartski, 1990
221
British Antique Dealers' Association Golden Jubilee Exhibition, London : The British Antique Dealers' Association, 1968

Labels and date

12. Snuffbox with scenes of rustic life
Box, 1819–38. Plaques, about 1765

Box: Paris, France; mark of Jean-Baptiste Fossin (1786–1848)
Plaques: Sèvres, France; probably Charles-Nicholas Dodin (1734–1803)
Chased gold and soft-paste porcelain painted in enamel
Formerly in the collections of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery and Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.499-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with scenes of rustic life
Box: 1819–38. Plaques: about 1765
Box: Paris, France; mark of Jean-Baptiste Fossin (1786–1848)
Plaques: Sèvres, France; probably Charles-Nicholas Dodin (1734–1803)
Chased gold and soft-paste porcelain painted in enamel
Formerly in the collections of the Earl of Rosebery and Viscount Bearsted
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.499-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The porcelain painted and made in Sevres c. 1765

Materials

Gold; Enamel; Porcelain

Techniques

Chasing; Enamelling

Subjects depicted

Dogs; Figure male; Landscape; Figure female; Sheep

Categories

Metalwork; Jewellery; Containers

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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