606
606
A silver-mounted star tortoise shell spice/snuff box, maker's mark only, possibly TO, a fleur-de-lys above, a mullet below, English, probably London, circa 1680
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606
A silver-mounted star tortoise shell spice/snuff box, maker's mark only, possibly TO, a fleur-de-lys above, a mullet below, English, probably London, circa 1680
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歐洲傢俱與工藝品

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A silver-mounted star tortoise shell spice/snuff box, maker's mark only, possibly TO, a fleur-de-lys above, a mullet below, English, probably London, circa 1680
the shell fitted with a silver lining complete with tortoise head and hinged lid, the lid engraved on both sides with a vignette, the exterior with a fully dressed seated couple in a private interior below the inscription: ‘PRESSEZ MOY ET IL MOVVIRAY,’ the interior with a reclining naked female figure revealing her charms to Cupid, bow in hand, hovering above, with houses and trees in the distance below the inscription: ‘PICQUE DENIS VOILA LE VILLAGE’
7.2cm., 2 3/4in. long
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相關資料

This unusual box falls into the category of ‘Amatory Spiceboxes,’ a phrase coined by the late Eric Delieb in his book, Silver Boxes (London, 1968, pp. 13 and 14). The author explores the likely origins and meanings of the engraved vignettes and mottoes which are a characteristic of such boxes, proposing that they ‘were very innocent (except perhaps to the recipient). . .’ In this, Mr. Delieb was surely being somewhat disingenuous; even the examples he quotes have more or less readily understood double meanings.

The motto on the lid of this present box, ‘PRESSEZ MOY ET IE MOVVIRAY,’ which more accurately should have been ‘Pressez moi et je m’ouvrirai,’ may be translated as, ‘Squeeze me and I will open.’ Clearly this refers to the simple mechanism which controls the opening of the lid as well as to the apparent promise vouchsafed in the engraving of the amorous couple. Similarly, the engraving of the scene and motto on the interior of the lid seems to have a double if not a triple meaning: ‘PICQVE DENIS VOILA LE VILLAGE.’ The fact that Cupid is here depicted with a bow but no arrow directs attention to the voluptuous subject of his attentions; the ‘PIQVE DENIS’ (‘Pique déni) of the inscription seems to suggest arousal denied. (One of Mr. Delieb’s examples, ‘Arceo sed ardeo’ (‘I shun, but I burn’) echoes this sentiment.) Meanwhile, in the distance flames (of desire) are about to engulf ‘LE VILLAGE,’ perhaps an allegory for ‘Love all-consuming.’ The obscurity of this motto, however, renders it open to a number of interpretations. As for the recumbent figure, the engraver appears to have been inspired by one or more of Titian's studies of nudes.

For the Paul Wallraf Collection of 18th and 19th century silver-mounted tortoise shell boxes, see Sotheby’s, London, 8 December 1983, lots 34 to 43.

歐洲傢俱與工藝品

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