Large rectangular snuff box in several shades of gold with enamel and hard stone. The hinged lid is decorated with a gold floral motif in relief that surrounds a hard stone medallion. This hard stone medallion, or pietra dura, features a bouquet of forget-me-nots and jasmine. The pink gold floral motif that surrounds the medallion is itself framed with a yellow gold frieze of stylized laurels. The sides of the box are decorated with oblong panels with friezes of rinceaux on matte gold backgrounds. Each panel is outlined in two royal blue enamel stripes. The rounded corners feature vases accented with blue enamel. The base of the box is entirely covered with a delicate relief. The main panel portrays a cornucopia framed with rinceau on a matte gold base and embellished with a rinceau frame accented with royal blue enamel.
The pietra dura technique used on this box was developed in Florence, Italy under the influence of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany during the 16th century. Semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, agate, and jasper were cut, then inlaid in black marble, and then polished. This technique has endured in the same was as mosaic has stood the test of time. Aristocrats, during their “Grand Tour” of Europe, would not miss the opportunity to bring back souvenirs like this one, with its inlay on the lid of an exceptional snuff box.
The box is marked with gold marks from Hanau, Germany. Hanau was an important center of production of snuff boxes and other hard stone objects beginning in the 18th century. The quality of their gold craftsmanship was exported throughout Europe as well as in Russia.
Weight: 4.4 oz (126 g)
L: 3.3 in (8.5 cm) / W: 2.2 in (5.5 cm) / H: 0.7 in (1.8 cm)
Master goldsmith: A.R.
Russian inspection marks.
Work from Hanau circa 1840-1850.