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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (city) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1795 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jade, pietre dure, pietre tenere and gold

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.435-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 7, shelf 3

The images on the cover and base of this snuffbox are strikingly similar to designs by the Florentine painter Giuseppe Zocchi (1711-67). Zocchi was employed to decorate the ducal palaces of Florence. His designs are in the tradition of Italian still-life paintings.

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 produced this mosaic and 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

Oval, hardstone snuffbox, the cover with a mosaic of a lute, French horn and music on a grey-jade ground, the base with a violin and bow with music on a jade ground, the sides with light and dark triangles above a frieze of interlaced ribbons enclosing quatrefoils, the gold mount of the cover is chased with overlapping circlets.

Place of Origin

Florence (city) (made)

Date

ca. 1795 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Jade, pietre dure, pietre tenere and gold

Dimensions

Length: 9.2 cm, Width: 6.8 cm, Height: 3.3 cm

Object history note

Provenance: The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection; sale, Sotheby's New York, 6 & 8 December 1993, lot 219; S.J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Oval, hardstone snuffbox, the cover with a mosaic of a lute, French horn and music on a grey-jade ground, the base with a violin and bow with music on a jade ground, the sides with interlaced ribbon and pearl designs.

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

Snowman, A. Kenneth. Eighteenth century gold boxes of Europe, London: Faber, 1966, pls. 724-5.
Snowman, A. Kenneth. Eighteenth Century gold boxes of Europe, rev. ed. Woodbridge: The Antique Collectors' Club, 1990, pls. 891-2, p. 448. ISBN 1851490728
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, volume II, London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 1999, cat. no. 62, pp. 97-8. ISBN.0856675210
Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 134-135, no. 49. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9

Labels and date

3. Snuffbox with lute and French horn
About 1795

The images on the cover and base of this box are similar to designs by the Florentine painter and printmaker Giuseppe Zocchi (1711–67). Zocchi was employed to provide designs for the Grand Ducal Workshop.

Florence, Italy; Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure)
Jade, pietre dure, pietre tenere (hard and soft stone mosaic) and gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.435-2008 [16/111/2016]
Snuffbox with lute and French horn
About 1795
The images on the cover and base are similar to designs by the Florentine painter Giuseppe Zocchi (1711–67). Zocchi was employed to decorate the ducal palaces of Florence. His designs are in the tradition of Italian stilllife paintings.
Florence, Italy; Grand Ducal Workshop
(Opificio delle Pietre Dure)
Jade, pietre dure, pietre tenere (hard and soft stone mosaic) and gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.435-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The mosaic Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Florence, late eighteenth century.

Materials

Gold; Hardstone; Jade

Techniques

Chasing; Carving; Pietre dure

Subjects depicted

Musical instruments

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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