View full screen - View 1 of Lot 4. A two-colour gold and tortoiseshell snuff box, Louis Roucel, Paris, 1765.

Property from an important European private collection

A two-colour gold and tortoiseshell snuff box, Louis Roucel, Paris, 1765

Auction Closed

May 25, 03:15 PM GMT


25,000 - 35,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from an important European private collection

A two-colour gold and tortoiseshell snuff box, Louis Roucel, Paris, 1765

of cut-cornered rectangular form, the acanthus-edged cagework mounts enclosing tortoiseshell panels applied with two-coloured gold plaques chased with small figures, trees and classical ruins in landscape below sablé skies, maker’s mark, charge and discharge marks of Jean-Jacques Prévost, Paris date letter for 1765/6, the rim inscribed 'Roucel Orfe. du Roi A Paris'

8cm., 3⅛in. wide

This lot contains endangered species. Sotheby's recommends that buyers check with their own government regarding any importation requirements prior to placing a bid. For example, US regulations restrict or prohibit the import of certain items to protect wildlife conservation. Please note that Sotheby's will not assist buyers with the shipment of this lot to the US. A buyer's inability to export or import these lots cannot justify a delay in payment or sale cancellation.

The interior of the box is numbered in black: G.R. 393 to signify the box came from the Goldschmidt-Rothschild collection.

Collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (fig. 1, 1843-1940), Frankfurt am Main (inv. no. 393 in the valuation list from 1938);

forced sale to the city of Frankfurt am Main, 11 November 1938;

transfered to the Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt am Main (inv. no. G.R. 393);

restituted to the heirs of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild before February 1949;

Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York;

Schaeffer, New York / ?A La Vieille Russie;

European private collection;

thence by descent 

The philanthropist, ardent art collector and extremely successful Jewish banker Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (1843-1940) was the son of Benedict Hayum Salomon Goldschmidt and the co-inheritor of the Goldschmidt family bank along with his brother Adolphe. Before the First World War, Maximilian was the wealthiest individual in the richest family in Germany, with his fortune of 163 million Reichsmark exceeding that of the German Emperor (Dieter Ziegler, ‘Kontinuität und Diskontinuität der Deutschen Wirtschaftselite 1900 bis 1938’, in: Grossbürger und Unternehmer – Die deutsche Wirtschaftselite im 20. Jahrhundert, Göttingen, 2000, p. 31). Maximilian married Minna Karoline Freiin von Rothschild, daughter of Baron Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild (1828-1901), financier of the Frankfurt House of Rothschild (for the Frankfurt house of Rothschild, see also the catalogue note on lot xx in this sale). After the death of his father-in-law in 1901, Maximilian Rothschild changed his name to Goldschmidt-Rothschild. During National Socialism, he was forced to sell his collection of around 1400 Old Master paintings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics and objets d’art – among them many exquisite gold boxes from eminent Paris makers such as the present lot – to the city of Frankfurt, as part of a forced sale that took place in 1938.

Following the restitution of the present lot to the Goldschmidt-Rothschild heirs, the gold box changed hands a few times. The last owner before the current one has been listed as ‘Schaeffer, New York’ and might refer to the renowned couple Hans Schaeffer and his wife Kate, who had established Schaeffer Galleries in Berlin in 1925, initially specialising in Old Master paintings and drawings initially. Eleven years later, they opened a branch in New York, first located at 61 East 57th Street. Following a few changes of locations, they remained at 983 Park Avenue for nearly five decades until the Gallery closed in 2000 (Schaeffer Galleries Records. The Frick Collection/Frick Art Reference Library Archives). It could also refer to the long-established New York firm of dealers in top quality gold boxes and Russian works of art, A La Vieille Russie.

Sotheby's would like to thank Dr. Katharina Weiler from the Museum of Applied Arts (Museum für Angewandte Kunst) in Frankfurt for her generous help researching the provenance of the present lot. Further light on the life and the extraordinary art collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild and its fate during Nazi persecution will be shed by the exhibition 'The Collection of Maximilian von Goldschmidt-Rothschild', 5 November 2022 to 26 February 2023 in Frankfurt.