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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased and pierced gold, carved agate, set diamonds and <i>champlevé</i> enamel

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.386:1, 2-2008

  • Gallery location:

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

This agate snuffbox is set with diamonds to evoke the detail of the huntsman's eyes and buttons. The dog’s head is the detachable lid of the scent bottle. Objects like this resemble the porcelain toys made at the Chelsea and Girl with a Swing factories in England in the mid-18th century. This box once belonged to the Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso (1873–1921).

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

A jeweled, gold-mounted agate snuffbox and scent bottle carved in the form of a seated huntsman wearing a tricorn hat, jacket, breeches, and boots, with diamond eyes and buttons in silver settings, beside his dog, with detachable head, diamond eyes and a champlevé enamel collar.

Place of Origin

London (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1760 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Chased and pierced gold, carved agate, set diamonds and champlevé enamel

Marks and inscriptions

Two import marks, France, indistinctly struck but probably for 1838-93 and 1893 onward
On the bezel

'FIDÈLE ET SINCÈRE'
Inscribed on the dog's collar

Dimensions

Length: 9.8 cm, Width: 7 cm, Height: 9.3 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Enrico Caruso, sale, Parke-Bernet, New York. Lot.234, March 15-16, 1949.. Christie's, London. Lot 193., December 18, 1973.. Christie's, Geneva. Lot 118., May 8, 1979..

Descriptive line

Chased and pierced gold, carved agate, set diamonds and champlevé enamel, London, ca.1760

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

Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983. 125 p., ill. Cat no. 17, p. 47-8. ISBN. 0961039809.
Snowman, A. Kenneth. Eighteenth century gold boxes of Europe, London: Faber, 1966, pls. 549-50.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 99, pp. 290-1. ISBN.0875871623
Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 102-103, no. 34. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9

Labels and date

5. Combined snuffbox and scent bottle,
in the form of a hunter and dog
About 1760

Probably London, England
Carved agate with chased and enamelled gold mounts, set with diamonds
Formerly in the collection of the Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso (1873–1921)
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.386-2008 [16/11/2016]

Materials

Gold; Agate; Enamel; Diamond

Techniques

Chasing; Piercing; Setting; Champlevé; Carving

Subjects depicted

Scrolls (motifs); Flowers (plants); Shells; Hunting horns; Stags; Dogs (animals); Vases; Hunters

Categories

Containers; Metalwork; Personal accessories

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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