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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Dresden (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca.1765 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, quartzite, agate and hardstones

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.418-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 3, shelf DU3

Saxony was rich in minerals and hardstones, leading to a blossoming of lapidary (polished stone) work. The city of Dresden was home to a treasury which was later extended by Augustus the Strong, elector of Saxony and King of Poland (ruled 1694-1733). This famous Green Vault (as it was known) encouraged the production of luxury objects. Chimneysweeps, such as the one depicted on this box, were widely considered a symbol of good luck.

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 quartzite snuffbox, the cover inlaid with an oval reserve of banded agate enclosing an image of a chimney-sweep in various hardstones, holding a ladder and a brush, standing on grass against a trellis of red stone, heigthened with colour. Each enclosed lozenge of quartzite has bevelled edges and is bordered by a frieze of banded agate; the walls and base have similar trellis and border decoration, mounted in gold chased with an osier pattern, and the box has a flaring floral thumbpiece.

Place of Origin

Dresden (probably, made)

Date

ca.1765 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gold, quartzite, agate and hardstones

Marks and inscriptions

No marks

Dimensions

Length: 8.9 cm, Width: 7 cm, Height: 4.6 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Wartski, London.

Descriptive line

Snuffbox, gold with mounted hardstones, probably Dresden, ca.1765

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. 19, pp. 38. ISBN.0856675210

Labels and date

3. Snuffbox with chimney sweep, about 1765

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.418-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with chimneysweep
About 1765

The chimneysweep was widely considered a symbol
of good luck.

Probably Dresden, Germany
Gold, quartzite, agate and hardstones
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.418-2008 [2009]

Materials

Gold; Hardstone; Quartzite; Agate

Techniques

Chasing; Mounting; Inlay

Subjects depicted

Brush; Figure, male; Trellis; Luck; Ladder

Categories

Containers; Metalwork; Personal accessories

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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