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  • Place of origin:

    St Petersburg (Russia) (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    de Mailly, Charles-Jacques, born 1740 - died 1817 (enameller)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Enamelled gold

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Goldsmiths from France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and England were attracted to the wealth of the Russian court at St Petersburg in the 18th century.The box's decoration is attributed to de Mailly based on a similar signed example now in the Musée du Louvre. Charles-Jacques de Mailly exhibited at the Salon in Paris in 1771, but by 1775 was working in Moscow. This snuffbox in the form of a basket opens to reveal a trompe l'oeil of fruit and vegetables.

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 enamelled gold snuffbox comprising ten panels painted on the outside with basketwork, with reeded gold mounts. The inside is painted with a profusion of fruits and vegetables. On the outer face is ropework delineating the panels on the walls.

Place of Origin

St Petersburg (Russia) (probably, made)


ca. 1775 (made)


de Mailly, Charles-Jacques, born 1740 - died 1817 (enameller)

Materials and Techniques

Enamelled gold

Marks and inscriptions

No marks


Diameter: 5.8 cm, Height: 3.5 cm

Object history note

Provenance: S. J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Enamelled gold snuffbox; probably St Petersburg, ca.1775, the decoration probably Charles-Jacques de Mailly

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. 10, p. 35. ISBN 0961039809.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991, cat. no. 130, pp. 376-7. ISBN.0875871623
Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 124-125, no. 44. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9
Schroder, Timothy. Gold boxes : from the Gilbert collection : an exhibition, Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986

Labels and date

5. Basket-shaped snuffbox
About 1775

When closed, this petite box fits perfectly in the palm of a hand. It resembles a humble wicker basket, albeit one painted in enamel on gold. In contrast, the inside is elaborately painted with an abundance of colourful fruit and vegetables.

Probably St Petersburg, Russia; enamels probably by Charles-Jacques de Mailly (1740–1817)
Enamelled gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.345-2008 [16/11/2016]
Basket-shaped snuffbox
About 1775

Probably St Petersburg, Russia;
enamels probably by Charles-Jacques de Mailly (1740–1817)
Enamelled gold, interior enamelled
with fruit and vegetables
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.345-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The decoration attributed to Charles-Jacques de Mailly, St. Petersburg, ca. 1775


Enamel; Gold



Subjects depicted

Strawberries; Lemon (fruit); Plums; Grapes; Basketwork; Vegetables; Fruit; Berries; Nuts


Metalwork; Personal accessories; Containers; Enamels


Metalwork Collection

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