Snuffbox

1761 (painted), ca. 1870 (made)
Snuffbox thumbnail 1
Snuffbox thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This 1870 snuffbox is set with earlier miniatures. The scene of fireworks over the Seine in Paris and the theatre interior were painted by a member of the van Blarenberghe family in 1761. The van Blarenberghe family originated in Leyden but moved to Paris in 1751. At least five members of the family were painters of miniatures but as they rarely signed either their first name or initials, their work is difficult to attribute.

There was no known firework display in Paris in 1761 but the van Blarenberghes often used historical engravings. The scene may therefore show one of the great displays earlier in the century - perhaps celebrating the birth of the Dauphin in 1730 or the recovery from illness of the King in 1744.

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold, glazed gouache (watercolour) miniatures
Brief Description
Gold snuffbox, with glazed watercolour miniatures by a member of the van Blarenberghe family; Paris, about 1870.
Physical Description
A rectangular, varicoloured gold snuffbox, the cover and base set with gouache (watercolour) miniatures under glass, the cover depicting a fireworks display on the Seine
Dimensions
  • Length: 8.3cm
  • Width: 6.1cm
  • Height: 3.1cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Unidentified mark of a nineteenth century French goldsmith (On the right side of the bezel)
  • Third standard mark for gold , France, May 10, 1838-June 30, 1918 (On the right side of the bezel)
  • Signed 'v. Blarenberghe / 1761' (On the miniature on the cover)
Gallery Label
  • 7. Snuffbox, about 1870, with fireworks miniature, 1761 Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.360-2008(16/11/2016)
  • Snuffbox with fireworks miniature Mounts: about 1870. Miniatures: 1761 This box was made to hold two earlier miniatures from the collection of the Russian businessman and collector Anatole Demidoff (1813–70), which were sold at auction in 1863. Paris, France; miniatures by a member of the Van Blarenberghe family, cover miniature signed and dated 1761 Gold and glazed miniatures Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.360-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Miniatures only: Prince Anatole Demidoff, sale, Paris, lot. 33, January 13-16, 1863. Miniatures only: M. Cambacérès. The Box: Christie's, Geneva, lot. 168, November 17, 1981. S. J. Phillips, London.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This 1870 snuffbox is set with earlier miniatures. The scene of fireworks over the Seine in Paris and the theatre interior were painted by a member of the van Blarenberghe family in 1761. The van Blarenberghe family originated in Leyden but moved to Paris in 1751. At least five members of the family were painters of miniatures but as they rarely signed either their first name or initials, their work is difficult to attribute.



There was no known firework display in Paris in 1761 but the van Blarenberghes often used historical engravings. The scene may therefore show one of the great displays earlier in the century - perhaps celebrating the birth of the Dauphin in 1730 or the recovery from illness of the King in 1744.



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.
Bibliographic References
  • Bénézit, Emmanuel-Charles. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculptures, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous le temps et de tous les pays, 11 vols. rev. ed. Paris 1976 (II, 74).
  • Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983, 125 p., ill. Cat no. 68, pp. 123-4. ISBN. 0961039809.
  • Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991. cat. no. 53, pp. 161-3. ISBN.0875871623
  • Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 34-35, figs 15-16. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9
  • Schroder, Timothy. Gold boxes : from the Gilbert collection : an exhibition, Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 198654
Other Numbers
  • GB 43 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.404 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • 1996.791.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 26 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • GPAF
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.360-2008

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record createdJune 19, 2008
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