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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)
    Florence (box, probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1822 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown
    Opificio delle Pietre Dure (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pietre dure and pietre tenere, lapis lazuli, varicoloured chased gold

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.437-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 7, shelf 5

The military trophies depicted on this box were probably designed by Giovan Battista Giorgi, who was appointed painter-designer to the Opificio in 1815. A document of 1822 in the archives of the Grand Ducal Workshop describes a snuffbox similar to this one and discusses the costs associated with its making. The box was probably also made in Florence.

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

Rectangular varicoloured gold and hardstone snuffbox, comprising six panels of lapis lazuli set in a cagework of gold. The panel on the lid contains a trophy of a helmet on a shield over a sword and spear with laurel ground, bordered by gold chased with trophies, foliage and ribbons; the mounts to the walls are chased with rosettes.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)
Florence (box, probably, made)

Date

ca. 1822 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown
Opificio delle Pietre Dure (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pietre dure and pietre tenere, lapis lazuli, varicoloured chased gold

Dimensions

Length: 8.3 cm, Width: 5.2 cm, Height: 2 cm

Object history note

Provenance: J. Kugel, Paris, 1994.

Descriptive line

Rectangular varicoloured gold and hardstone snuffbox, comprising six panels of lapis lazuli set in a cagework of gold. The panel on the lid contains a trophy of a helmet on a shield over a sword and spear with laurel ground, bordered by gold chased with trophies, foliage and ribbons; the mounts to the walls are chased with rosettes.

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

Giusti, Anna Maria. Pietre Dure: L'arte europea del mosaico negli arredi e nelle decorazioni dal 1500 al 1800. Turin: Allemandi, 1992, p. 123, no. 133, p. 260, pl. 66.
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. 64, p. 155. ISBN 0856675105.
Giusti, Anna. Pietre Dure and the Art of Florentine Inlay. London: Thames & Hudson, 2006, pp. 214-216, pl. 175.
Truman, Charles. The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, volume II. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999, cat. no. 63, p. 99.
Koeppe, Wolfram and Annamaria Giusti.with contributions by Cristina Acidini ... [et al.] ; edited by Wolfram Koeppe. Art of the Royal Court. Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe.. New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art ; New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, c2008. P. 316, cat. no. 124.

Labels and date

5. Snuffbox with helmet and shield
About 1822

The military trophies were probably designed by Giovan Battista Giorgi, who was appointed painter-designer to the Grand Ducal Workshop in 1815.

Box: probably Florence, Italy
Mosaic: Florence, Italy; Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure)
Lapis lazuli, pietre dure, pietre tenere (hard and soft stone mosaic) and gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.437-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with helmet and shield
About 1822
The military trophies were probably designed by Giovan Battista Giorgi, who was appointed painter-designer to the Opificio in 1815. A document of 1822 in the archives
of the Grand Ducal Workshop describes a snuffbox similar to this one and discusses the costs associated with its making.
Box: probably Florence, Italy
Mosaic: Florence, Italy; Grand Ducal Workshop
(Opificio delle Pietre Dure)
Lapis lazuli, pietre dure, pietre tenere (hard and soft stone mosaic) and gold
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.437-2008 [2009]

Production Note

Box: probably Florence. Mosaic: Florence, Opificio delle Pietre Dure

Materials

Hardstone; Gold; Lapis lazuli

Techniques

Pietre dure; Chasing

Subjects depicted

Trophies

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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