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  • Place of origin:

    Berlin (city) (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca.1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, enamel, diamonds

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The blue reserve shows the name of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878) picked out in diamonds. It was added about 1850-70 so that the box could be used as a gift from the Pope.

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 gold snuffbox, enamelled in duck-egg blue with borders of black arabesques and gold paillons within opaque white lines. The walls are divided by four opaque white pilasters, the cover later painted with a blue reserve and set with diamonds with the words PIUS IX within a diamond border. The leather case is applied with the pontifical arms of Pius IX.

Place of Origin

Berlin (city) (probably, made)


ca.1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold, enamel, diamonds

Marks and inscriptions

Struck on the inside of the base and of the lid. Mark of goldsmith, previously thought to be working in Geneva, but currently considered to have worked in Germany, probably Berlin.

[illegible monogram]
On the inside of lid and base

A mark possibly imitating a Paris date letter
On the inside of base and lid

A bird's head
Struck on the inside of the base

Inscribed on the right bezel

Set in diamonds on an added plaque on the cover


Length: 8.7 cm, Width: 6.5 cm, Height: 2.5 cm

Object history note

Provenance: S.J.Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Snuffbox, gold and enamel set with diamonds, Geneva, ca.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. 44, p. 73. ISBN.0856675210

Labels and date

7. Snuffbox, about 1800, with name of Pope Pius IX, 1850–70

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.520-2008 [16/11/2016]


Gold; Enamel; Diamond


Enamelling; Setting

Subjects depicted

Pilasters; Arabesques


Containers; Metalwork; Personal accessories


Metalwork Collection

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