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Snuffbox thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Snuffbox

ca. 1750 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The body and lid of this box are carved from Egyptian jasper (also known as caillou d’Egypte). The stonecutting and use of this particular jasper suggests it was carved in the Grand Ducal workshops in Florence where Egyptian jasper was in use from the early seventeenth century. However the gold chasing of the mounts could possibly be English. Under the initiative of director, Louis Siries (active 1748-1762), the Grand Ducal workshops produced carved hardstone snuffboxes in the style of this example. There are a number of examples in the Opificio delle Pietre Dure museum in Florence that are strikingly like the models mounted in England at the same period.

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.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Carved jasper and chased gold
Brief description
Gold-mounted Egyptian jasper snuffbox; carving probably Grand Ducal workshops, c.1750, gold mounts probably England c.1750
Physical description
Egyptian jasper set as a gold snuffbox in the form of a shell, , the cover carved as a scallop shell. The mounts are chased with pilasters and rocaille.
Dimensions
  • Width: 8.7cm
  • Height: 5cm
  • Depth: 6.1cm
Marks and inscriptions
No marks
Gallery label
  • 3. Shell-shaped snuffbox, about 1750 Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.398-2008(16/11/2016)
  • Shell-shaped snuffbox About 1750 Probably Germany Carved agate and gold Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.398-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Sotheby's, London, lot. 164, December 13, 1976. S. J. Phillips, London, 1983.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The body and lid of this box are carved from Egyptian jasper (also known as caillou d’Egypte). The stonecutting and use of this particular jasper suggests it was carved in the Grand Ducal workshops in Florence where Egyptian jasper was in use from the early seventeenth century. However the gold chasing of the mounts could possibly be English. Under the initiative of director, Louis Siries (active 1748-1762), the Grand Ducal workshops produced carved hardstone snuffboxes in the style of this example. There are a number of examples in the Opificio delle Pietre Dure museum in Florence that are strikingly like the models mounted in England at the same period.

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.
Bibliographic references
  • Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 64, pp. 188-9. ISBN.0875871623
  • Schroder, Timothy. Gold boxes : from the Gilbert collection : an exhibition, Los Angeles : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1986 4
Other numbers
  • GB 62 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.419 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • 1996.791.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 26 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession number
LOAN:GILBERT.398-2008

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Record createdJune 19, 2008
Record URL
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