Please complete the form to email this item.

Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    1766-1772 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cox, James (probably, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, moss agate, bevelled glass, clockwork mechanism, enamelled watch dial

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.384-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Image in copyright

The maker of this box, James Cox, is the best known of the London toymakers. His tradecard states that he made 'a great variety of curious work in gold, silver, and other metals also in amber, pearl, tortoiseshell and curious stones'. In 1772 he opened a museum in Westminster displaying some of his automata.

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, gold-mounted, hardstone automaton snuffbox and watch, the cover, three walls and base set with panels of moss agate mounted in gold chased with scrolls. The front is a bevelled glass panel with a white enamel watch dial, the chapter ring enamelled in black with Roman hours and Arabic minutes, flanked by the regulator and open balance. The back panel opens to reveal a landscape painted in oils with two apertures through which are visible, when rotated by the clockwork mechanism, a man on a donkey, a lady in an interior, a bird in a tree and a hen. The upper rim of the box is chased with foliage, the lower rim with a guilloche.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)

Date

1766-1772 (made)

Artist/maker

Cox, James (probably, maker)

Materials and Techniques

Gold, moss agate, bevelled glass, clockwork mechanism, enamelled watch dial

Marks and inscriptions

No marks

Dimensions

Length: 6.6 cm, Width: 7.9 cm, Height: 5.1 cm

Object history note

Provenance: A la Vieille Russie, New York
Sotheby's, London, May 17, 1956, lot 95
S.J. Phillips, London

Descriptive line

Rectangular gold-mounted, hardstone automaton snuffbox and watch; James Cox, London, 1766-72

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

Berry Hill, Henry and Sidney. Antique gold boxes: their lore and their lure. New York: Abelard Press, 1953, p.112, ills. 89-90.
Le Corbeiller, Clare. European and American snuffboxes, 1730-1830. New York: Viking Press, 1966, no. 287.
Habsburg-Lothringen, Géza von. Gold boxes from the collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. R. & A. Gilbert, 1983. 125 p., ill. Cat. no.19, pp. 51-2. ISBN. 0961039809.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991, cat. no. 105, pp. 307-8. ISBN.0875871623

Exhibition History

Gold Boxes from the Gilbert Collection (Los Angeles County Museum of Art 01/01/1986-31/12/1987)
Gold Boxes from the Gilbert Collection (Los Angeles County Museum of Art 01/01/1986-31/12/1987)
Gold Boxes from the Gilbert Collection (Los Angeles County Museum of Art 01/01/1986-31/12/1987)
Rococo Art and Design in Hogarth's England (Victoria and Albert Museum 01/01/1984-31/12/1984)
The Art of the Goldsmith and Jeweller (A La Vieille Russie 01/01/1968-31/12/1968)

Materials

Gold; Enamel; Glass; Agate

Techniques

Enamelling; Chasing; Setting; Bevelling

Subjects depicted

Birds; Landscape; Tree; Scrolls (motifs); Figure; Leaf (plant material); Donkey; Guilloche; Interior views; Hen

Categories

Containers; Personal accessories; Metalwork; Clocks & Watches

Collection code

MET

Qr_O158203
Ajax-loader