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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Dresden (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Neuber, Johann Christian, born 1735 - died 1808 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved lapis lazuli and marble, Zellenmosaik hardstones, matted gold and glazed miniature

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.354-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 3, shelf 6

This box demonstrates the technique of Zellenmosaik (literally, cell mosaic), in which small pieces of hardstone (tesserae) are separated by areas of gold. This technique is believed to have been developed by Heinrich Taddel or his son-in-law Johann Christian Neuber, who worked at Taddel's workshop in Dresden. The marks on the box are unusually informative for a box by Neuber: it is marked 'NEUBER', 'DRESDEN', and '20' for 20 carat gold. The cover was set later with a miniature of Charlotte Aglaé, Madmoiselle de Valois, by a follower of the enameller Jean Petitot, 1825-50.

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, gold-mounted hardtone 'Zellenmosaik' snuffbox, on the cover a miniature of a young lady in a white gown mounted on a lapis lazuli ground bordered by red and green hardstone leaves and berries.

Place of Origin

Dresden (made)

Date

ca. 1780 (made)

Artist/maker

Neuber, Johann Christian, born 1735 - died 1808 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved lapis lazuli and marble, Zellenmosaik hardstones, matted gold and glazed miniature

Dimensions

Length: 8.8 cm, Width: 6.6 cm, Height: 3.7 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Viscount Bearsted, M.C.. S.J. Philips, London.

Descriptive line

An oval, gold-mounted hardstone Zellenmosaik snuffbox, on the cover a miniature of Charlotte Aglaé in a lapis lazuli ground bordered by red and green hardstone leaves and berries.

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

Norton, Richard and Martin. A History of gold snuff boxes. London: Messrs. S. J. Phillips, 1938. pl. 40.
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, no. 22.
Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983, 125 p., ill. Cat no. 39, pp. 81-2. ISBN. 0961039809.
Truman, Charles,The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 78, pp. 229-31. 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. 58, p. 149. ISBN 0856675105.
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. 22, p. 51. ISBN 0875870805.

Labels and date

6. Snuffbox with portrait of a woman
Box, about 1780. Miniature, 1825–50

Dresden, Germany; mark of Johann Christian Neuber (1736–1808)
Gold, hardstones, lapis lazuli and marble, with glazed enamel miniature
added later
Formerly in the collection of Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.354-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with portrait of a woman
Box: about 1780. Miniature: 1825–50
Dresden, Germany; mark of Johann Christian Neuber
(1736–1808)
Gold, hardstones, lapis lazuli and marble, with glazed
enamel miniature added later
Formerly in the collection of Viscount Bearsted
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.354-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The cover was set later with a miniature of Charlotte Aglaé, Mademoiselle de Valois, by a follower of Jean Petitot, 1825-50.

Materials

Lapis lazuli; Marble; Hardstone; Gold; Enamel; Glass

Techniques

Carving; Mosaic; Carving; Tooling; Painting (image-making); Matting

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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