July 6, 02:09 PM GMT
250,000 - 350,000 GBP
A gold-mounted hardstone, burgau and shell 'Steinkabinett'-Tabatiere, Johann Christian Neuber
Dresden, circa 1785
rectangular with cut corners, the lid inlaid in a radiating pattern with 16 colourful semi-translucent hardstone panels, among them agate, chalcedony, quartz and starling stone, within gold mounts with a small engraved number above each stone specimen, centred with an oval carved shell and burgau medallion representing The Toilet of Venus below trees in front of a rocky landscape, in an engraved gold frame, the sides composed of further hardstone specimens in different colours and patterns, numbered from 17 to 40, below a gadrooned border, the base also inlaid in a cell mosaic of 16 trapezoid hardstones radiating out from a gold-framed oval panel of chestnut agate with mossy inclusions,
8.3cm., 3 1/4 in. wide
Rafael Eberhardt, born Halevi, was born in Germany in 1868 and lived in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Eberhardt was a senior director at the Berlin branch of Dresdner Bank, founded by Dresden-born Eugen Gutmann (1840-1925) in 1872, and he and his wife Elisheva (Ilsa) Eberhardt (1883-1934) owned a beautiful collection of decorative arts. Like many Jewish collectors in the late 19th and the early 20th century, such as Emma Budge, Margarete Oppenheim or Eugen Gutmann, a gold box by the celebrated Dresden court jeweller Johann Christian Neuber, was also among the objets d’art that the Eberhardt family assembled. Many of the gold boxes and the collectibles in some of the aforementioned great Jewish collections in Germany were looted under Nazi occupation and subsequently sold in forced sales (see for example Sammlung Margarete Oppenheim, Julius Böhler, München, sale 18-22 May 1936; or Paul Graupe, Die Sammlung Frau Emma Budge, Berlin, sale, 28 – 29 September 1937), and some of those that survived the turmoils of the war were only restituted in the past couple of decades. The present Steinkabinett was luckily saved from this destiny when the widowed Elisheva Eberhardt fled from Nazi Germany to Israel in 1934, only taking her child and the family’s most precious belongings with her on the long and onerous journey from Berlin to Israel, among them the present lot, tucked under her dress and held in place by a belt around her waist.