A JEWELLED AND GOLD-MOUNTED HARDSTONE APPLIQUÉ PORTRAIT SNUFF BOX, PROBABLY BERLIN, CIRCA 1770
circular, the porphyry ground applied on the lid with an oval painted ivory miniature of a gentleman with powdered hair en queue, wearing a military grey coat with red collar and gold lace facings and epaulettes, rose diamond frame, the ground and sides further applied in different bright hardstones and gemstones with a plethora of flowers, bows, insects and amorous trophies, unmarked
6.5cm., 2½in. diam
Some minor portions of applique missing.
"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."
This unusual and lively technique of applying hardstone boxes with insects, flowers and other ornament is associated with two boxes, signed respectively: F.L. Hoffmann F. and Hoffmann F., illustrated by A. Kenneth Snowman, Gold Boxes of Europe, Woodbridge, 1990, pls. 615/6, 618/a. Snowman believed these boxes to be of Dresden manufacture but in a discussion of the former box, now in the Gilbert Collection, Charles Truman laid out the few known facts and argued the case for a Berlin origin for the Hoffmanns’ workshop. He makes the point that “the technique of raised stonework is more frequently associated with the court of Frederick the Great in Berlin than with the rival Saxon court”.