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  • Place of origin:

    London (box, made)
    London (watch, made)

  • Date:

    1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Strachan, Alexander James (maker)
    Mesure, Anthony (watchmaker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled engine-turned gold and pearls

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

One of the most productive early nineteenth century London box makers, Alexander James Strachan produced boxes for the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell and a number of retail outlets. The design and decoration of the box was likely inspired by Swiss examples. The watch was made by London chronometer maker Anthony Mesure (or Measure) around 1800.

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

An oval, jewelled, enamelled gold combined snuffbox and watch, the box painted in translucent blue, the cover bordered with split pearls.

Place of Origin

London (box, made)
London (watch, made)


1800 (made)


Strachan, Alexander James (maker)
Mesure, Anthony (watchmaker)

Materials and Techniques

Enamelled engine-turned gold and pearls

Marks and inscriptions

Mark of Alexander James Strachan, goldsmith registered in London, September 21, 1799-between 1842 and 1850
In the base

English standard mark, a crown, for gold used from 1798 onward for 18 carat and 1844 onward for 18 and 22 carat
In the base and on the right side of the bezel

English standard mark '18' for 18 carat gold, 1798-1974
In the base and on the right side of the bezel

London assay office mark, a leopard's head crowned, 1756-1821
In the base

London date letter 'E', May 29, 1800-May 28, 1801
In the base

English duty mark for gold, England, 1798-1821
In the base

Engraved 'Anth. Mesure London 1070'
On the watch movement


Length: 8.4 cm, Width: 5.8 cm, Height: 3.2 cm

Object history note

Provenance: D. S. Lavender, London.

Descriptive line

A jewelled and enamelled snuffbox and watch; Alexander James Strachan, London, 1800, the watch by Anthony Mesure, London, ca. 1800

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. 24, p. 57. ISBN. 0961039809.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 111, pp. 320-1. ISBN.0875871623
Schroder, Timothy. Gold boxes : from the Gilbert collection : an exhibition, Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986

Labels and date

9. Snuffbox with watch, 1800

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.355-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with watch

London, England;
mark of Alexander James Strachan (1774–1850),
watch by Anthony Mesure (active 1799–1851),
movement no. 1070
Enamelled gold and pearls
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.355-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The box made in 1800, the watch made ca. 1800.


Gold; Enamel; Pearl


Enamelling; Engine turning

Subjects depicted

Rosettes; Ribbon


Metalwork; Personal accessories; Containers; Clocks & Watches; Enamels


Metalwork Collection

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