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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Geneva (made)

  • Date:

    1804-1809 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Moulinie, Bautte & Moynier (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted and champlevé enamel, gold and freshwater pearls (probably Margaritifera margaritifera)

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.1047-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 4, shelf 11

By 1788, Geneva was at the centre of a trade which numbered nearly 1,500 watchmakers, goldsmiths, jewellers and enamellers. A combination of high skill, international salesmanship and competitive pricing took Genevan work to the Ottoman Empire and the Far East. Boxes of this form were made for the Far Eastern market. Many such objects were acquired as souvenirs by soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion and the Opium Wars in China and as a consequence found their way back to Europe.

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

An enamelled gold snuffbox that takes the shape of the image on the cover; a recumbent lion on a grassy bed. The cover is bordered by pearls and the tail of the lion is set with pearls. The walls are painted with reserves of blue bordered by opaque white; and the base with a still life of shells with a black champlevé enamel grapevine border.

Place of Origin

Geneva (made)

Date

1804-1809 (made)

Artist/maker

Moulinie, Bautte & Moynier (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted and champlevé enamel, gold and freshwater pearls (probably Margaritifera margaritifera)

Marks and inscriptions

An indistinct mark, struck twice, but probably the mark of Moulinie, Bautte & Cie used from 1804 until 1808
In the cover

An indistinct mark, but probably the Geneva town mark
In the cover

The number '16'
In the cover

Mark of Moulinie, Bautte & Cie, goldsmiths registered in Geneva, 1793 until after 1831, used from 1808 until 1815
In the base

the French Provincial restricted warranty mark for gold used between 19 June, 1798 and 31 August, 1809
On the left side of the bezel

The French Provincial restricted warranty mark for gold used between 16 August, 1819 and 9 May 1838
On the left side of the bezel

The French import mark used between 24 October, 1864 and 1 June, 1893
On the left side of the bezel

Dimensions

Width: 7.1 cm, Depth: 4.8 cm, Height: 1 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Collection of the Prince and Princess Joachim Murat.

Descriptive line

Enamelled gold snuffbox with the image on the cover of a recumbant lion, Moulinie, Bautte & Cie, Geneva, 1804-09.

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. 46, p. 75. ISBN.0856675210
'Gilbert's Gold'. Orient Express Magazine, 1996, vol. 13, no. 4, pl. 22, pp. 20-24.
Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 118-119, no. 41. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9

Labels and date

11. Lion snuffbox
1804–09

This Swiss snuffbox was probably made for
sale in East Asia. Such boxes in the shapes
of animals often came in pairs.

Geneva, Switzerland; maker’s mark of Moulinie, Bautte & Cie
Enamelled gold set with pearls
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.1047-2008 [16/11/2016]

Materials

Gold; Freshwater pearl; Enamel

Techniques

Enamelling

Subjects depicted

Shells; Lion; Flowers (plants)

Categories

Personal accessories; Metalwork; Containers

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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