View full screen - View 1 of Lot 18. A rare hardstone appliqué snuff box with two-colour gold mounts, ** Hoffman, probably Berlin, circa 1770.
18

A rare hardstone appliqué snuff box with two-colour gold mounts, ** Hoffman, probably Berlin, circa 1770

A rare hardstone appliqué snuff box with two-colour gold mounts, ** Hoffman, probably Berlin, circa 1770

A rare hardstone appliqué snuff box with two-colour gold mounts, ** Hoffman, probably Berlin, circa 1770

A rare hardstone appliqué snuff box with two-colour gold mounts, ** Hoffman, probably Berlin, circa 1770


rectangular, the lid and body of carefully-chosen translucent banded agate, applied on the lid with a cluster of brightly-coloured hardstone and stained glass ladybirds and beetles confronting a fly within a delicate gold tracery of leaves, ribbons and turquoise flowers, the thumbpiece centred with a radiating star, wavy gold mount and footrim, the front with a battle between an elaborately carved stag-beetle and two flies, the sides with bright butterflies dancing on the creamy waves of agate, the base signed in a curve of the stone: Hoffman F., in a fitted 19th century velvet-lined leather case,

7.9cm., 3 1/8 in. wide


A fascinating box in remarkable condition, especially bearing in mind the fragility of the technique;

the star-shaped centre of the thumbpiece probably later added to make it easier to open the box; along the bevelled edges of the panels there are the most miniscule nicks which derive from the time of assembly; some insignificant losses to the small fillings on the tips of the insects' legs on the front side


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.


NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

It is probable that this is the box listed in the catalogue of the sale of a Dr Morand in Paris on 1-11 December 1773, which is described as 'une boîte carrée de belle agate d'Allemagne, montée en or, travaillé à jour, elle est ornée d'insectes composés d'agate, de sardoine-onyx, cornaline, jaspe. Cette pièce très curieuse est faite par Hoffmann' (quoted by Alphonse Maze-Sencier, Le livre des collectionneurs, Paris, 1885, p. 149; Kenneth Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, Woodbridge, 1990, p. 302 and Charles Truman, The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes, vol.I, Los Angeles, 1991, no. 66, p. 193.
Kenneth Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, Woodbridge, 1990, pls. 618 and 618A;
Charles Truman, The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes, vol.I, Los Angeles, 1991, p. 193
Fanfare for Europe, 1973, no. 292