'Aesop's Fables', Silver Unmarked, c1755-65



The sivler box of circular form with straight sides and slightly domed pull-off cover,
the engraved piqué posé inlay depicting three 'Aesop's Fables' :


'The North Wind & the Sun', 'The Fox & the Stork' and 'The Two Rabbits' :


beneath a rayed sun and beside a tree (The North Wind & the Sun);
a seated fox faces the stork, dining with his long bill through the narrow neck of a jar
(The Fox & the Stork);
and above two rabbits (The Two Rabbits);


  all within a stylized foliate border;
the base exterior also inset with tortoiseshell


The cover of this snuff box 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 Neopolitan 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.


Provenance and Literature :

John Culme, "British Silver Boxes 1640-1840, The Lion Collection", p. 154, Coll. no. 167,

a collection which had

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


Condition : Excellent, with only a few minor blemishes to the tortoiseshell


2-1/8" Diameter






Please Inquire










'The North Wind & the Sun' :


The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger.

While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. 

"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."

"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.

With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body.
But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him.
The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.

Then the Sun began to shine.
At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind,
the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders.
The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow.
At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak,
to escape the blazing sunshine,
and, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.


Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.



'The Fox & the Stork' :

The Fox one day thought of a plan to amuse himself at the expense of the Stork,
at whose odd appearance he was always laughing. "You must come and dine with me today,"
he said to the Stork, smiling to himself at the trick he was going to play.
The Stork gladly accepted the invitation and arrived in good time and with a very good appetite.

For dinner the Fox served soup. But it was set out in a very shallow dish,
and all the Stork could do was to wet the very tip of his bill.
Not a drop of soup could he get. But the Fox lapped it up easily, and,
to increase the disappointment of the Stork, made a great show of enjoyment.

The hungry Stork was much displeased at the trick,
but he was a calm, even-tempered fellow and saw no good in flying into a rage.

Instead, not long afterward, he invited the Fox to dine with him in turn.
The Fox arrived promptly at the time that had been set,
and the Stork served a fish dinner that had a very appetizing smell.
But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow neck.
The Stork could easily get at the food with his long bill,
but all the Fox could do was to lick the outside of the jar, and sniff at the delicious odor.

And when the Fox lost his temper, the Stork said calmly :
Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself.



The Two Rabbits :

A Rabbit, who was about to have a family,
entreated another Rabbit to lend her her hutch until she was able to move about again,
and assured her that she should then have it without fail.
The other very readily consented, and, with a great deal of civility, resigned it to her immediately.
However, when the time was up, she came and paid her a visit,
and very modestly intimated that now she was up and well she hoped she might have her hutch again,
for it was really inconvenient for her to be without it any longer;
she must, therefore, be so free as to desire her to provide herself with other lodgings as soon as she could.
The other replied that truly she was ashamed of having kept her so long out of her own house,
but it was not upon her own account (for, indeed, she was well enough to go anywhere)
so much as that of her young, who were yet so weak that she was afraid they would not be able to follow her;
and if she would be so good as to let her stay a fortnight longer she should take it for the greatest obligation in the world.
The second Rabbit was so good-natured and compassionate as to comply with this request too,
but, at the end of the term came and told her positively that she must turn out,
for she could not possibly let her be there a day longer.
"Must turn out!" says the other; "We will see about that; for I promise you,

unless you can beat me and my whole litter of young, you are never likely to have anything more to do here."

Give someone an inch and they'll take a mile









Also See :


Three Fine Shell Snuff Boxes with Literature


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






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George II / III Silver-Mounted Tortoiseshell Snuff Box, Aesop's Fables, 1755-65