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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries

Snuffbox

ca. 1780 (made), 1775-1780 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This colourful box is decorated with numerous hardstones: agate, lapis lazuli, carnelian, bloodstone and turquoise. Whilst the box was probably made in Dresden around 1780, the miniature may have been painted up to five years earlier, probably by Nicolas Claude Vassal (active 1766-79) in Paris.

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
Chased gold with agate, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, carnelian, moss agate, blue and yellow glass paste (glass), and imitation pearls
Brief Description
A rectangular, gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox with canted corners, the cover set with an oval, bust-length enamel miniature of a young lady.
Physical Description
A rectangular, gold-mounted hardstone snuffbox with canted corners, set with a Zellenmosaik of agate, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, carnelian, moss agate, blue and yellow paste (glass), and simulated pearls in false gadroons and ovals within a border of foliage and flowers, the cover set with an oval, bust-length enamel miniature of a young lady.
Dimensions
  • Length: 8.2cm
  • Width: 5.9cm
  • Height: 3.1cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Import mark, France, May 10, 1838-May 31, 1864 (On the bezel)
Gallery Label
  • 6. Snuffbox with young woman, 1775–80 Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.350-2008(16/11/2016)
  • Snuffbox with young woman Box: about 1780. Miniature: 1775–80 Box: Dresden, Germany; probably Johann Christian Neuber (1736–1808) Miniature: Paris, France; probably Nicolas Claude Vassal (active 1766–79) Gold, hardstones and enamel; the miniature, although contemporary with the box, may be a later replacement Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.350-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Garrard and Company, London.



Concealed Histories:

The V&A is committed to proactive provenance research, which seeks to uncover important information about who owned these pieces before they were acquired by Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert. This research is important because between 1933 and 1945, Jewish collectors in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe were systematically deprived of their possessions, and their art collections scattered, sold, confiscated or destroyed. Despite significant efforts after the Second World War by the Allies and governments, many of these objects were never restituted. They ended up in public and private collections who often acquired them without knowing their fate during the Nazis years.

As children of Jewish migrants from Eastern Europe, both Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert were acutely aware of Nazi crimes, but even they followed this common practice as they assembled their world-class collection. The information below explains what we know and what we do not yet know about the previous owners of these objects during the Nazi-era.



Eugen Gutmann founded the Dresdner Bank and built a collection of gold and silver treasures, catalogued in 1912 as including this box. After his death in 1925, the bulk of the collection went to his son, Friedrich, who lived with his wife Louise in the Netherlands. In 1943, Friedrich and Louise Gutmann were deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto and they were murdered. Apart from the 1912 catalogue, there are no records of this snuffbox until it reappeared on the art market in 1983.



This object is part of the ‘Concealed Histories’ display, on until 10 January 2021 and intended to widen our appeal for further information on these objects.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This colourful box is decorated with numerous hardstones: agate, lapis lazuli, carnelian, bloodstone and turquoise. Whilst the box was probably made in Dresden around 1780, the miniature may have been painted up to five years earlier, probably by Nicolas Claude Vassal (active 1766-79) in Paris.



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
  • Holzhausen, Walter. Johann Christian Neuber, Dresden, 1935, fig. 20.
  • Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 79, pp. 232-3. ISBN.0875871623
  • Coffin, Sarah and Bodo Hofstetter. Portrait Miniatures in Enamel. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with the Gilbert Collection, 2000. 168 p., ill. Cat. no. 58, p. 109. ISBN 0856675334.
  • Massinelli, Anna Maria with contributions by Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel. Hardstones: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000, 329 p., ill. Cat. no. 59, p. 150. ISBN 0856675105.
  • The World of Interiors. London: Pharos Publications Ltd, December 1996, pp. 104-105.
Other Numbers
  • GB 135 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.483 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • 1996.791.1 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • MIN 26 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.350-2008

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record createdJune 19, 2008
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