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Snuffbox

Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Europe (north, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engine-turned gold, carved mother of pearl

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.1044-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

It has been suggested that the mother of pearl panels which decorate this snuffbox are German or Flemish in origin, and date from the early or mid 18th century. The mounts are of a later date in the 19th century, which suggests that the mother of pearl panels are reused, and may have originally decorated a small cabinet. That the panels were not necessarily in this configuration may also explain the mix of the mythological scene of Perseus and Andromeda, with the Old Testament scenes of Susanna and the Elders, David and Bathsheba, Judith with the head of Holefernes, and Joseph with Potiphars's wife. It is likely that initially there were more than five panels.

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

Rectangular snuffbox comprising five panels of mother of pearl, carved in relief, all mounted in a cagework of gold chased with acanthus. The cover depicts Perseus and Andromeda, and around the walls are Susanna and the Elders, David and Bathesheba, Judith with the head of Holofernes, and Joseph with Potiphar's wife. The base is formed from a panel of engine-turned gold.

Place of Origin

Europe (north, made)

Date

ca. 1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Engine-turned gold, carved mother of pearl

Dimensions

Width: 5.2 cm, Length: 7.9 cm, Height: 4 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Sotheby's Geneva, 25 May, 1993, lot 95. Christie's Geneva, 17/05/1994. S.J.Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Rectangular snuffbox comprising five panels of mother of pearl, carved in relief, all mounted in a cagework of gold chased with acanthus. The cover depicts Perseus and Andromeda, and around the walls are Susanna and the Elders, David and Bathesheba, Judith with the head of Holofernes, and Joseph with Potiphar's wife. The base is formed from a panel of engine-turned gold.

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

Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, volume II, London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd., 1999, cat. no. 60, p. 95. ISBN.0856675210

Labels and date

1. Snuffbox with Perseus and Andromeda, about 1800

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.1044-2008 [16/11/2016]

Production Note

The mother of pearl panels are probably first half 18th century, the mounts are from the first half of the nineteenth century

Materials

Gold; Mother of pearl

Techniques

Chasing; Carving; Engine turning

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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