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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (marked)
    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    1819-1832 (made)
    ca.1810 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morel, Gabriel-Raoul (box maker)
    Morelli, Giovanni (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chalcedony, agate, hardstones, gold

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The cover is encrusted with hardstones forming a romantic rocky landscape of towers, ruins, waterfalls and a swan. The technique is reminiscent of the pietre-dure workshops of Florence.

The hardstone panel may have been created by Giovanni Morelli in Rome, ca.1810; the box itself was put together between 1819 and 1832 by the Paris goldsmith Gabriel-Raoul Morel, who was noted for the range of media in which he worked. A number of boxes by Morel with Napoleonic connections have survived, suggesting that he may have been a supplier to the court.

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

A shaped oval, gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox, the body of pale chalcedony, the cover encrusted with various hardstones forming a rocky landscape

Place of Origin

Paris (marked)
Rome (made)


1819-1832 (made)
ca.1810 (made)


Morel, Gabriel-Raoul (box maker)
Morelli, Giovanni (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Chalcedony, agate, hardstones, gold


Length: 9.6 cm, Width: 7.7 cm, Height: 4.7 cm

Object history note

Provenance: S. J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox with chalcedony body, box by Gabriel-Raoul Morel, Paris, 1819-32, hardstone panel possibly by Giovanni Morelli, Rome, about 1810.

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

Gonzalez- Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection, Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977. 143 p., ill. Cat. no.50. ISBN 0875870805.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski; essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 54. ISBN 0875871097
Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983. 125 p., ill. Cat. no.60, p.111. ISBN.0961039809.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991, cat. no. 44, pp. 136-7. ISBN.0875871623

Labels and date

6. Snuffbox with rocky landscape, 1810–32

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.445-2008 [16/11/2016]


Chalcedony; Agate; Gold; Hardstone


Stone-cutting; Chasing


Metalwork; Jewellery; Containers


Metalwork Collection

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