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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Dresden (city) (box, made)
    Rome (city) (micromosaic, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780 (made)
    late 18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased gold, inlaid lapis lazuli, agate and hardstones, glass micromosaic

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.353-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 3, shelf 8

This box is decorated with the hardstones agate and lapis lazuli, which are set into gold collets. Such a technique is typical of the workshop of Johann Christian Neuber, who was working in Dresden in the 18th century, thus the box can probably be attributed to him ca.1780. The centre of the box is set with a micromosaic depicting doves on a branch. This box is an example of the wide availability of Roman mosaics throughout Europe at the end of the 18th century, as its mosaic was certainly imported from Rome having been made during the late 18th century.

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 rectangular gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox with canted corners, the cover, walls and base decorated with geometric patterns, the cover set with an oval Roman micromosaic plaque of billing doves on a branch

Place of Origin

Dresden (city) (box, made)
Rome (city) (micromosaic, made)

Date

ca. 1780 (made)
late 18th century (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Chased gold, inlaid lapis lazuli, agate and hardstones, glass micromosaic

Dimensions

Length: 8.5 cm, Width: 6 cm, Height: 2.9 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Christie's, Geneva, lot. 27, November 13, 1984. S. J. Phillips, London. Michel Turisk, Paris.

Le Grand Frisson Exhibition RF.2005/788

Descriptive line

A rectangular gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox with canted corners, the cover, walls and base decorated with geometric patterns, the cover set with an oval Roman micromosaic plaque of billing doves on a branch

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

Truman, Charles,The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 81, pp. 238-9. ISBN.0875871623

Labels and date

Snuffbox with doves
About 1780
Box: Dresden, Germany; probably Johann Christian Neuber
(1736–1808)
Mosaics: Rome, Italy
Gold, lapis lazuli, agate, hardstones and glass micromosaic
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.353-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The box was made by Johann Christian Neuber, the micromosaic by an unknown artist.

Materials

Gold; Lapis lazuli; Agate; Hardstone; Mosaic glass

Techniques

Chasing; Inlay (process); Micromosaic

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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