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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (city) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Opificio delle Pietre Dure (mosaicist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased and engraved gold, hardstone and soft stone mosaic

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.439-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 7, shelf 1

The mosaics on this box are similar to those on some jewellery also found within the Gilbert collection. They may have been designed by Leopoldo Cioci, chief designer of the Grand Ducal Workshop from 1792.

Hardstone mosaic techniques emerged in Florence, where Ferdinand de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded the Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure) in 1588. It still operates today under the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage.

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 pietre dure snuffbox with canted corners, with six panels of hardstone mosaic depicting shells and coral, those on the cover and base bordered by agate and turquoise pellets, with similar pellets at the corners, mounted à cage in gold chased and engraved with stylised foliage.

Place of Origin

Florence (city) (made)

Date

ca. 1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Opificio delle Pietre Dure (mosaicist)

Materials and Techniques

Chased and engraved gold, hardstone and soft stone mosaic

Dimensions

Length: 6.8 cm, Width: 5 cm, Height: 2.7 cm

Object history note

Provenance: S. J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Rectangular, gold-mounted pietre dure snuffbox; Florence, Grand Ducal workshops, ca.1800.

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. 141, pp. 408-9. 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. 62, p.153. ISBN 0856675105.

Labels and date

1. Snuffbox with shells and coral
About 1800

These intricate mosaics of shells are similar to those seen on the jewellery displayed nearby (2). They may have been designed by Leopoldo Cioci, chief designer of the Grand Ducal Workshop in Florence from 1792.

Florence, Italy; Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure)
Lapis lazuli, chalcedony, turquoise, pietre dure, pietre tenere (hard and soft stone mosaic) and gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.439-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with shells and coral
About 1800
The mosaics are similar to those on the jewellery (2). They may have been designed by Leopoldo Cioci, chief designer of the Grand Ducal Workshop from 1792.
Florence, Italy; Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure).
Lapis lazuli, chalcedony, turquoise, pietre dure, pietre tenere (hard and soft stone mosaic) and gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.439-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The mosaic was made by the Opficio delle Pietre Dure

Materials

Gold; Lapis lazuli; Chalcedony; Turquoise; Hardstone

Techniques

Chasing; Engraving (incising); Pietre dure

Subjects depicted

Shells; Coral

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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