December 10, 02:29 PM GMT
50,000 - 70,000 GBP
A hardstone 'surprise' aide-mémoire with four-colour gold mounts, Johann Christian Neuber, Dresden, circa 1765
of upright rectangular form, composed of oval dendritic agate panels set on a ground of carnelian with airy coloured gold floral cagework mounts, the front lid enclosing the word: SOUVENIR, on a lapis lazuli ground, the interior containing ivory memorandum slips and gold-topped pencil, the base extending when a secret slide is pressed to reveal the space for a miniature portrait, in modern case stamped for Wartski,
9.2cm., 3 5/8 in. high
Almarus Edward Henry Digby (1889 – 1950) was the eldest son of the Hon. Everard Charles Digby (1852-1915) and Lady Emily Louisa Anne (1886-1939), daughter of Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne. He died unmarried. During the First World War he served as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines.
Felix Kramarsky, one of the children of Berko Abeliowitsch Kramarsky and his wife, Sophie (née Horwitz), was born at Lübeck, Germany, on 18 February 1891. He and his wife, Gutta (née Nachamson) lived in Hamburg during the 1920s, when he was described as a merchant. By 1941 they had moved to the United States where Kramarsky established Felix Kramarsky Inc., at Broadway and 29th Street, Manhattan, as importers and exporters of nonferrous metals and ores. The success of his business enabled him to amass a notable collection of art works, including silver and other treasures from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; Chinese porcelain and pottery, jades and bronzes, as well as a number of high quality gold boxes. Much of this was sold in London and New York between 1958 and 1959, when eleven snuff boxes by Johann Christian Neuber found new owners.
The other important sale in the 1950s of gold-mounted German hardstone boxes was, of course, Sotheby's sale of the Palace Collections of Egypt in Cairo in 1954 (see lot 12).