Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Snuffbox with Trellis Patterns

Enameled copper with silver rims
H. 3.8 cm, L. 8.3 cm, D. 6.5 cm
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 951
A group of boxes similarly embellished in raised gilding with trellis or geometric patterns has traditionally been considered German, although several works are fitted with Paris-marked mounts.(1) If German, the logical place of manufacture would have been Berlin, where a precedent for adorning enamel boxes with pictorial subjects in the same technique, sometimes with the addition of translucent enamels, had been established in the workshop of Pierre (1685 – 1738) and Alexander Fromery. The decorative scheme of this box, of which there is an almost identical version with Parisian silver mounts dated 1744 – 50,(2) is particularly close to the uninterrupted linear and trellis patterns of Parisian gold boxes from about 1750,(3) and it is suggested that this category of work, despite the fact that no workshops have been identified, may be French.(4)

Catalogue entry from Claire Le Corbeiller. The Robert Collection. Decorative Arts, Volume XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 154.

1. Sale, Christie’s, Geneva, 25 – 26 April 1978, lots 225 (dated 1750 – 56), 226, 228, 230 – 32.
2. Benjamin, Susan. English Enamel Boxes from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. Studio Book. New York, 1978, p. 96.
3. Snowman, A. Kenneth. Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe. London, 1966 (rev. ed.: 1990, Woodbridge, Suffolk, England), pl. 220; Watson, F. J. B., and Carl Christian Dauterman. Furniture, Gold Boxes; Porcelain Boxes, Silver. Vol. 3 of The Wrightsman Collection. New York, 1970, p. 132.
4. Charles Truman suggests that this type of work must, on balance, be considered to have been made in a French workshop probably in or near Paris.
Probably Mrs. Henry Walters, Baltimore; Walters sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 23-26 April 1941, lot 513 (?). Probably acquired by Robert Lehman from the Walters sale.
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