Sale 17CN02 | Lot 711

Diamond-Set, Guilloché Enamel and Two-Color Gold Russian Imperial Presentation Snuff Box

Catalogue: English & Continental Furniture / Old Masters / Russian Works of Art

Lot Details

Lot 711
Diamond-Set, Guilloché Enamel and Two-Color Gold Russian Imperial Presentation Snuff Box
Mark of Carl Martin Weishaupt und Söhne, Hanau, circa 1860, numbered 2836, further scratched 20345
Cartouche-shaped, with fluted baluster sides, the cover repoussé and chased with foliate scrolls and rosettes on a matted ground, centering an oval plaque enameled in translucent royal blue over a sunburst engine-turned ground, set with a silver-mounted diamond-set cypher of Empress Maria Alexandrovna beneath a Russian Imperial crown, within a gold border set with eighteen diamond-set flowerheads, the base centering a reserve engraved with a floral bouquet surrounded by scrolling foliage, in the original case, marked on flange and inside, also with St. Petersburg import mark. Height 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm), width 3 1/2 inches (8.9 cm), depth 2 5/8 inches (6.7 cm).
Acquired by the father of the present owner.
Russian sovereigns followed the practice of their European counterparts of awarding jeweled snuff boxes (tabakerka in Russian, from the French tabatière). The practice began to flourish in the eighteenth century, during the reigns of the Empresses Elizabeth (1741-1762) and Catherine II (1762-1796), when snuff taking, which evolved into an elaborate social ritual, spurred demand for luxurious snuff boxes. In Russia, the practice of awarding snuff boxes endured into the reign of Nicholas II (1896-1917), long after the fashion for snuff taking had passed.
During the reign of Alexander II (1855-1881), many of the snuff boxes awarded by the sovereigns were supplied by the German goldsmith, C.M. Weishaupt und Söhne. Established in 1801, the firm participated in major international exhibitions and supplied the finest gold boxes to many of the courts of Europe. Other examples by the firm, bearing the jeweled cypher or portrait of Emperor Alexander II, were sold at Christie's, London, May 25, 2004, lot 215 and Christie's, London, June 10, 2010, lot 244. Snuff boxes bearing the cypher of the empress are rarer than those with the cypher of the emperor and seldom appear on the market.
Empress Maria Alexandrovna (1824-1880) was born Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine to Louis II, Grand Duke of Hesse (1777-1848) and Princess Wilhelmine of Baden (1788-1836). She was married to the future Emperor Alexander II in 1841 until her death in 1880. She gave birth to eight children, including future Emperor Alexander III (1845-1894).

C Property of a New York Estate

Estimate: $12,000 - $18,000
Sold for $21,250 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

In very good condition. There is an area of light wear to the very edge of the enamel plaque at 3 o'clock which is concealed beneath the mount. There are light surface scratches throughout, consistent with age. All of the diamonds are present. The case is original to the snuff box and shows signs of usual wear to the interior and exterior.

Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.

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Estimate: $12,000 - $18,000
Sold for $21,250 (includes buyer's premium)

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Catalogue Info

English & Continental Furniture / Old Masters / Russian Works of Art

Thu, May 25, 2017 at 10am EDT
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