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Snuffbox

Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1715 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raised gold and enamelled plaque.

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.1041-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The subject of this snuffbox is mildly erotic, with the woman partially exposing herself and raising her skirts, gazing at the viewer as her servant watches on. Whilst this subject may seem somewhat amusing, and even innocent to modern viewers, it would have been shocking to Georgian eyes.

The flowers in the vase behind the woman demonstrate the great skill of the enameller. The wonderful detail of the flowers suggest that the artist may have been a Hueguenot, or an immigrant from France, Holland or Germany, where there was a great flower painting tradition.

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 snuffbox with plain walls and reeded borders, the cover set with an enamel plaque depicting the half length figure of a woman loosely clad in a white lined blue dress exposing one breast, and with her skirt raised, with a black servant looking over her shoulder

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1715 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Raised gold and enamelled plaque.

Dimensions

Length: 7.7 cm, Width: 6.1 cm, Height: 1.6 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Christie's, Geneva, lot 357, November 10, 1987.

Descriptive line

An oval, gold snuffbox with plain walls and reeded borders, the cover set with an enamel plaque depicting the half length figure of a woman loosely clad in a white lined blue dress exposing one breast.

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. 94, pp. 280-281. ISBN.0875871623

Materials

Gold; Enamel

Techniques

Enamelling (painting); Chasing; Mounting

Subjects depicted

Servants; Eroticism

Categories

Containers; Metalwork; Personal accessories

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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