Snuffbox thumbnail 1
Snuffbox thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries

Snuffbox

ca. 1714 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This box bears the monogram 'FE' for Felipe V and Elisabetta Farnese. Inside the lid is the miniature portrait of Felipe Bourbon (1683-1746). Brought up as Philippe, Duc d'Anjou, he was proclaimed by his grandfather the French king, Louis XIV, as king of Spain in 1700. He succeeded his great-uncle Charles II and reigned as Felipe V until 1724 when he abdicated in favour of his son Louis. After Louis's premature death from smallpox only eight months after taking the throne, Felipe resumed his reign until his death in 1746.

The underside of the box is decorated with symbols of love - a quiver of arrows, a burning torch, a pair of doves and a flaming heart. The box was a romantic gift from Felipe to Elisabetta Farnese of Parma, whom Felipe married in 1714.

Taking snuff (powdered tobacco) became a fashionable pursuit in the early years of the eighteenth century. Ladies and gentlemen would offer each other snuff from rich, elegant boxes in the latest styles.

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Chased, engraved and inlaid gold, carved tortoiseshell (probably from hawksbill turtle) and glazed miniature
Brief Description
Snuffbox with reversed monogram FE with miniature of Philip V of Spain inside. Gold, tortoiseshell, glazed miniature. Paris, ca.1714
Physical Description
A cartouche-shaped, gold-mounted tortoiseshell snuffbox, the cover pique with a crowned, reversed monogram FE within a border of scrolling foliate strapwork, the base with a trophy of love within a similar border. The gold walls are chased and engraved with scenes of hunting, shooting, and emblems of love in landscapes on a matted ground. The interior of the lid is set with a portrait of Philip V of Spain, turned three-quarters to the left, standing under a red velvet canopy of estate. The king wears a powdered wig, blue jacket, steel breastplate, and red cloak. On his breastplate are the Order of the Golden Fleece and the sash of the Order of the Holy Ghost. In his proper right hand is a baton, and a crown rests on a cushion beside him.
Dimensions
  • Length: 7cm
  • Width: 5.3cm
  • Height: 1.9cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Monogram 'FE' (On the cover)
  • Fleur-de-lis discharge mark (On the left side of the bezel)
  • Restricted warranty mark for gold, Paris, May 10, 1838-onward (On the left side of the bezel)
Gallery Label
  • 1. Snuffbox with monogram of Philip V of Spain and Elisabetta Farnese About 1714 Symbols of love on the base of this box and the monogram ‘FE’ on its cover tell us this was a gift from Felipe (Philip V) to his second wife, Elisabetta, whom he married in December 1714. A miniature of the king is mounted inside the lid. Paris, France Gold, tortoiseshell and glazed miniature Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.314-2008(16/11/2016)
  • Snuffbox with monogram of Philip V of Spain and Elisabetta Farnese About 1714 The symbols of love on the base and the monogram FE on the cover show that this was a gift from Felipe (Philip V) to his second wife, whom he married in December 1714. A miniature of the king is mounted inside the lid. Paris, France Gold, tortoiseshell and glazed miniature Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.314-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Christie's, Geneva, lot 390, November 10, 1987. Acquired by Arthur Gilbert from S.J. Phillips Ltd, London, 1989.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This box bears the monogram 'FE' for Felipe V and Elisabetta Farnese. Inside the lid is the miniature portrait of Felipe Bourbon (1683-1746). Brought up as Philippe, Duc d'Anjou, he was proclaimed by his grandfather the French king, Louis XIV, as king of Spain in 1700. He succeeded his great-uncle Charles II and reigned as Felipe V until 1724 when he abdicated in favour of his son Louis. After Louis's premature death from smallpox only eight months after taking the throne, Felipe resumed his reign until his death in 1746.



The underside of the box is decorated with symbols of love - a quiver of arrows, a burning torch, a pair of doves and a flaming heart. The box was a romantic gift from Felipe to Elisabetta Farnese of Parma, whom Felipe married in 1714.



Taking snuff (powdered tobacco) became a fashionable pursuit in the early years of the eighteenth century. Ladies and gentlemen would offer each other snuff from rich, elegant boxes in the latest styles.



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.
Bibliographic References
  • Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no.1, pp. 30-31. ISBN.0875871623
  • Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 51, plate 33. ISBN9781851775934
  • Zech, Heike. 'Gold boxes in the Gilbert Collection at the V & A'. In : Art Antiques London. Catalogue of Art Antiques London, incorporating The International Ceramics Fair & Seminar, 10 June - 16 June 2010. London: Haughton International Fairs, 2010, p.12, ill.
  • Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 32-33, no. 1. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9
Other Numbers
  • GB 149 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.497 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • 1996.791.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 26 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.314-2008

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record createdJune 19, 2008
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