View full screen - View 1 of Lot 11. A jewelled gold-mounted hardstone snuff box, Johann Christian Neuber, Dresden, circa 1770-1780.

Property formerly in the Collection of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza

A jewelled gold-mounted hardstone snuff box, Johann Christian Neuber, Dresden, circa 1770-1780

Auction Closed

July 6, 02:09 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property formerly in the Collection of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza

A jewelled gold-mounted hardstone snuff box, Johann Christian Neuber

Dresden, circa 1770-1780

oval, inlaid in cell mosaic, the lid with a border of oblong oval carnelian panels alternating with turquoise and nephrite forget-me-nots on polished gold, around the ground of grey and brown banded Schlottwitz agate triangles, centred with a bloodstone wreath tied with a white chalcedony knot, surrounding a later diamond frame containing a an associated oval miniature of a lady, circa 1775, painted on ivory, the sides similarly decorated, the dividers repeating tied bloodstone laurel, engraved intertwined border around the rim, the base a mirror image of the lid, centred with an elaborately inlaid pietra dura love token of a flaming arrow and quiver, tied to an agate bow by a lapis lazuli ribbon, in a smaller floral wreath on an engraved lozenge and flower gold ground; the interior of the lid inset with a minitature of a gentleman, circa 1780, French school, painted on ivory, within a later engraved Cyrillic inscription Moskovskoe Dvoryanstvo / Radostnomu ryestniku / 8yn Sentyabrya 1843 goda, the rim signed: Neuber a Dresde

9.5cm., 3 3/4 in. wide

This lot contains ivory. Due to recent changes in the laws of many countries (e.g. US, France) Sotheby’s recommends that buyers check with their own government regarding any importation requirements prior to placing a bid. For example, US regulations restrict the import of elephant ivory and prohibit the import of African elephant ivory. Please note that Sotheby’s will not assist buyers with CITES licence applications where a buyer elects to either collect or arrange their own shipping, nor will Sotheby’s assist with the international movement of ivory by air, either as freight or through hand carry. Sotheby’s shipping will only assist in shipping the lot to either domestic UK or EU destinations, where delivery is made by road transport. A buyer’s inability to export or import these lots cannot justify a delay in payment or sale cancellation.
Triebold collection, Hanover, early 20th century;
A la Vieille Russie, New York, 1968
Collection of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, Lugano; 
thence by descent 

The first recorded 20th century owner of the present lot was Wilhelm (Willy) Triebold. Born in 1860 in a small town southwest of Hanover, he began his career as a watchmaker with an apprenticeship in 1894, moving four years later to Berlin in order to become an assistant watchmaker. There he soon invented a variety of watchmaking tools and watch components, such as a new system to attach bow and pendant to a watch case. Triebold held over 30 patents relating to watchmaking and horology and his talent was soon recognised by the Royal Prussian Ministry of Trade and Commerce which granted him a scholarship at the German School of Watchmaking in Glashuette,where he finished his education in 1905. In 1911, Triebold started  business by opening a shop in Hanover, where he offered timepieces from Glashuette and watches from Geneva. An important and unique openface spring detent tourbillon movement made by Willy Triebold during his time at the aformentioned famous Deutsche Uhrmacherschule was sold at Sotheby’s in 1998 for the remarkable price of CHF 166,300 (Sotheby’s Geneva, 19 May 1998, lot 272). The watchmaker also owned an extraordinary collection of renaissance clocks, watches and 18th century objects of vertu of high quality, as both the present lot and a rare Steinkabinett specimen gold snuff box by Christian Gottlieb Stiehl, circa 1775, complete with original explanatory booklet in a secret compartment, demonstrate (sold Sotheby’s Geneva, 18 November 1997, lot 248).

Later in the 20th century, the box found its way to another very distinguished collection, that of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza.  The Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, perhaps best known now to the public for its paintings, is one of the greatest private collections in the world and the result of two generations of ardent collectors: Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1875-1947) and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921-2002). It is the second Baron who passionately collected rare and wonderful gold boxes and Fabergé (Anna Somers Cocks and Charles Truman, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Renaissance Jewels, Gold Boxes and Objets de Vertu, London, 1984). Hans Heinrich ‘Heini’ Àgost Gábor Tasso Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon, in full, was a grandson of August Thyssen (1842-1926), a German industrialist who had become very successful with his iron and steel companies in the industrialised city of Mühlheim and was also co-founder of RWE AG, the German multinational energy company still headquartered in Essen in West Germany.

With six sculptures by Rodin, August Thyssen had been the first one in his family to collect art. Both this passion and the desire to make these works accessible for the public were shared by his successors. Baron Heinrich Freiherr Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon et Impérfalva (1875-1947), second son of August, was a German-Hungarian entrepreneur and the first to build the collection in the way it presents itself today. Passionate about classical art, he started collecting in the 1920s. In order to house a collection that was constantly growing. and seeking a neutral place in the turbulent Europe of the interwar period, he bought from Prince Leopold of Prussia (1865-1931) the Villa Favorita, Lugano, where he spent the rest of his life. In addition, he ordered the construction on the estate of a gallery with the purpose of showing his collection to the public. The gallery opened its doors in 1936 but it remained closed for ten years following the outbreak of World War II. Baron Heinrich Thyssen passed away in 1949 and the youngest of his sons, Hans Heinrich, took over the wonderful collection to which he added and which contains fine French gold boxes and a number of extraordinary gold boxes from other centres of production.

Walter Holzhausen, Johann Christian Neuber. Ein sächsischer Meister des 18. Jahrhunderts, Dresden, 1935, no. 38;
Anna Somers Cocks and Charles Truman, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Renaissance Jewels, Gold Boxes and Objets de Vertu, London, 1984, no. 97, pp. 280-81;
Alexis Kugel, Gold Jasper and Carnelian, Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court, London, 2012, cat. no. 111;