The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Dresden, Germany
  • c.1730-40
  • Rock crystal, gold and diamonds, carved
  • Height: 5.1 cm
    Diameter: 8.3 cm
    Weight: 160.8 g
  • G78
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The helmeted head carved on the lid of this rock crystal box bears a resemblance to a medal portrait of Catherine the Great by Johann Georg Waechter, but it is more likely to be a depiction of Bellona (or Minerva), the goddess of war, on whom the celebrated Catherine medal was based. Stylistically the box displays none of the characteristics that would be expected of a box made in the early 1760s when the medal of Catherine was struck.
    The carving of the box is a triumph of Baroque ornament and this conservative style, and the almost spherical form, suggests a date of manufacture around the second quarter of the eighteenth century. The high quality of the cutting points to a centre where there was a well-developed tradition of stone, especially rock crystal, cutting, most probably Dresden. It is very probable that the box was sold at one of the fairs in Frankfurt or Leipzig where many such luxury goods were traded, rather than in the city of its manufacture.