The Silver Unmarked, c1725-35



The oval box with plain straight sides and two small "stand-away" hinges,
the arched inlaid tortoiseshell cover having engraved piqué posé inlay depicting
a seated flute player before a garden wall, serenading a shepherdess with staff and dog,
within a cartouche and decorative outer border composed of
cornucopiae, doves, squirrels and baskets of fruits among foliage;
tortoiseshell base.
Exquisitely executed


Provenance and Literature (see illustration below) :

John Culme, "British Silver Boxes 1640-1840, The Lion Collection", p.130, ref. 132,

a collection which had

"been distilled to include only the most interesting, rare and varied of antique British silver boxes".

Also with Bonhams London, 2005


Note : An almost identical example from the Metropolitan Museum

(see image and descriptive information below)


Early tortoiseshell boxes as this employed shell carved from a turtle shell,
which was heated and pressed to form the lid and base.
The silver parts of the box were soldered and the hinge was pinned to the base and soldered to the mount.
The cover of this example is inlaid in a method known as piqué posé -
wherein designs are cut into the tortoiseshell and inlaid with fine strands of gold or silver.
Piqué work was introduced in the mid-17th century by Neapolitan jeweler Laurentini.
Also popular in France (where it was known as piqué d'or) piqué was brought into England
with the late 17th century immigration of the skilled Huguenot craftsmen.


Condition : Excellent; the original hinges having replaced brass screws


2-7/8" Long






 Please Inquire






The above from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Date : ca. 1700–1740
Culture : British or French
Medium : Silver, tortoiseshell
Dimensions: Overall : 1/2 × 2 3/4 × 2 in. (1.3 × 7 × 5.1 cm)
Classification : Metalwork-Silver In Combination
Acession Number : 14.58.225





Cover Interior



Base Interior



Showing Verso


John Culme, "British Silver Boxes 1640-1840, The Lion Collection", p.130, ref. 132 


John Culme, "British Silver Boxes 1640-1840, The Lion Collection", p.130, ref. 132





Also See :


Three Fine Shell Snuff Boxes with Literature


"Three Fine Shell Snuff Boxes, c1720-45, Each With Literature"





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George I-II Silver-Mouter Tortoiseshell Snuff Box, England, c1730