The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Berlin, Germany
  • c. 1815-50
  • Bloodstone, semi-precious stones, glass and gold, chased
  • Object size: 3.9 x 9.5 x 6.7 cm
    Weight: 178.3 g
  • Mark: standard mark for 14 carat gold
  • G79
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The decoration of this box is similar to some of those commissioned by Frederick the Great of Prussia between 1742 and 1775. The shape, however, is not typical of the eighteenth century and the style of the gold mounts suggests a date of manufacture during the first half of the nineteenth century, probably between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and 1850.
    The Prussian practice of using glass in place of hardstones for some of the more spectacular ‘stones’ is well known, but here carved hardstone flowers and a butterfly are set on a bloodstone background, mounted in varicoloured gold and chased with stylized flowers, drapery and rams’ heads in red, yellow and white gold. The slightly bombé sides and the base of this box are carved from a single bloodstone. The interior of the box is stone.
    When it was acquired by Sir RIchard Wallace from the Empress Eugénie it was thought to be 'Italian work', but presumably this is because almost all work in coloured hardstones (apart from that of Johann Christian Neuber of Dresden) was considered to be Florentine at that date.