Snuffbox thumbnail 1
Snuffbox thumbnail 2
+6
images
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

1804-1809 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted and champlevé enamel, gold and freshwater pearls (probably Margaritifera margaritifera)
Brief Description
Enamelled gold snuffbox with the image on the cover of a recumbant lion, Moulinie, Bautte & Cie, Geneva, 1804-09.
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.
Dimensions
  • Width: 7.1cm
  • Depth: 4.8cm
  • Height: 1cm
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)
Gallery Label
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)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Collection of the Prince and Princess Joachim Murat. Acquired by Arthur Gilbert from S.J. Phillips Ltd, London, 1994.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Other Numbers
  • 1996.543 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • GB 195 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • GB 179 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.527 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.1047-2008

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdSeptember 16, 2008
Record URL