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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (city) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1828 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mascelli, Giovanni Andrea (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Inlaid lapis lazuli, bloodstone, malachite, agate, chalcedony, quartz, foil with glazed ivory miniature and chased gold mounts

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.440-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 5

Inside the cover of this box is a half-length portrait miniature of Sir William Drummond (1770-1828). Educated at Oxford, Drummond was appointed envoy to the court of Naples in 1801. In 1803 he became ambassador to the Ottoman Porte (Constantinople) and received the Turkish Order of the Crescent, which is shown on the left lapel of his cloak. He also wears the badge for the Neapolitan Order of Saint Januarius, awarded to him upon his return to Naples in 1806.

This is made up of a variety of hardstones or pietre dure. Hardstone mosaic techniques emerged in Florence, where Ferdinand de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded the Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure) in 1588. It still operates today under the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage.

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

Rectangular, gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox, the cover composed of eleven plaques of bloodstone and straited and foiled agates, the walls composed of malachite and the interior of the lid set with a miniature of Sir William Drummond.

Place of Origin

Rome (city) (made)

Date

ca. 1828 (made)

Artist/maker

Mascelli, Giovanni Andrea (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Inlaid lapis lazuli, bloodstone, malachite, agate, chalcedony, quartz, foil with glazed ivory miniature and chased gold mounts

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved inside 'Fratelli Mascelli a Roma' and 'Right Honourable Sir William Drummond 1828'

Dimensions

Length: 7.7 cm, Width: 6.1 cm, Height: 1.6 cm

Object history note

Provenance: S.J Phillips, London.

Historical significance: Sir William Drummond (1770-1828) was educated at Christ Church, Oxford and became Member of Parliament for St. Mawes, Cornwall in 1795. In 1801 he was sworn to the Privy Council and appointed envoy extraordinary to the Court of Naples and in 1803 appointed Ambassador to Constantinople. He retired in 1809 and died in Rome in 1828.

Historical context note

The brothers Giovanni Andrea (1796-1870) and Giovacchino Mascelli had a goldsmith's shop at 90/91 Piazza di Spagna, Rome.

Descriptive line

Rectangular, gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox; Giovanni Andrea Mascelli, Rome, ca.1828

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

Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983. 125 p., ill. Cat no. 6, pp. 27-8. ISBN.0961039809.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991, cat. no. 147, pp. 420-2. ISBN.0875871623
Massinelli, Anna Maria with contributions by Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel. Hardstones: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 329 p., ill. Cat. no. 66, p.157. ISBN 0856675105.
19
Schroder, Timothy. Gold boxes : from the Gilbert collection : an exhibition, Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986

Labels and date

2. Snuffbox with specimen hardstone panels, about 1828

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.440-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with specimen hardstone panels
About 1828

Inside the cover is a half-length portrait miniature of Sir William Drummond (1770–1828). Educated in Oxford, Drummond was appointed envoy to the court of Naples in 1801. In 1803 he became ambassador to the Ottoman Porte (Constantinople) and received the Turkish Order of the Crescent, which is shown on the left lapel of his cloak. He also wears the badge for the Neapolitan Order of Saint Januarius, awarded to him upon his return to Naples in 1806.

Rome, Italy; Giovanni Andrea Mascelli (1796–1870)
Lapis lazuli, bloodstone, malachite, agate, chalcedony, quartz, foil, glazed ivory miniature and gold mounts
Engraved inside ‘Fratelli Mascelli a Roma’ and ‘Right Honourable Sir William Drummond 1828’
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.440-2008 [2009]

Materials

Gold; Blood-stone; Agate; Malachite; Lapis lazuli; Quartz; Chalcedony; Ivory; Foil; Glaze

Techniques

Chasing; Carving; Inlay; Glazing; Painting

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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