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  • Place of origin:

    Berlin (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1770-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, shell, hardstones

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Designs upon imported wares from China and Japan inspired the fashion for 'chinoiserie' throughout western Europe in the mid-eighteenth century. European craftsmen created stylised 'Chinese' scenes and motifs, developing their own artistic interpretation of Chinese 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.

Physical description

Oval snuffbox comprising ten panels of green quartz, mounted in gold engraved with paterae. The cover and walls are encrusted with shell, lapis lazuli, gold and chalcedony Chinoiserie in the French mid-eighteenth century taste. The base has a plain panel of stone. The thumbpiece is set with rubies and diamonds.

Place of Origin

Berlin (probably, made)


1770-1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold, shell, hardstones

Marks and inscriptions

Mark for gold imported into Austria 1901-1921
On the left bezel

Restricted warranty mark for gold, Paris, May 10, 1838 onwards
On the left bezel


Length: 8.3 cm, Width: 6.2 cm, Height: 3.5 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Christie's, Geneva, 14 May 1996, lot 338. S.J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Gold, shell and hardstone, Berlin, 1770-1800

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. 22, p. 43. ISBN.0856675210

Labels and date

5. Box with Chinese scenes, 1770–1800

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.415-2008 [16/11/2016]
Box with Chinese scenes

Probably Berlin, Germany
Gold, shell, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, rubies and diamonds
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.415-2008 [2009]


Gold; Shell; Lapis lazuli; Chalcedony; Ruby; Diamond


Engraving (incising); Setting

Subjects depicted

Paterae; Fountain; Birds; Bridge; Landscape; Flowers; Figure; Figure, male; Chinoiserie; Musician


Containers; Metalwork; Personal accessories


Metalwork Collection

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