Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu (15 June 2021)

Date of Auction: 15th June 2021


Estimate: £2,800 - £3,000

Duke of Wellington interest: An 18th century German vari-coloured gold and green chalcedony snuff box, circa 1750, of oval form, the green chalcedony inlaid with gold, silver and burgau shell, the hinged cover with Chinoiserie landscape, a pagoda to the background, the sides similarly decorated with Chinoiserie vignettes, probably from the workshop of Heinrich Taddel, Dresden, with floral chased thumbpiece, stamped duty mark for Vienna 1806-1807 to inner rim, dimensions 7.3 x 4.2 x 3.0cm. £2,800-£3,000


Provenance: From The Ducal Collection of Hardstone Boxes: Collected by the 7th Duke of Wellington, sold at Bonhams, Lot 13, Sale No: 20781, 19th June 2013.
Formerly purchased at Phillips, 1956, for £45.

Heinrich Taddel (or Dattel) (1715-1794) is recorded as a master goldsmith in Dresden from 1739, in which year he became Inspector at the the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vaults). Dresden, as a centre of production of precious snuffboxes, was unique in 18th century Europe in one respect, for its ‘distinct and individual signature styles developed by some makers in the city, ... notably Neuber and Heinrich Taddel...” Taddel’s workshops are credited with developing the technique of zellenmosaik, literally ‘cell-mosaic’, hardstone tesserae separated by strips of metal. Sheets of gold were pierced and filled with a marquetry of stones to form landscapes.

This box shows the transition and fusion of styles during the second half of the 18th century, where the decoration still harks back to the chinoiserie fashion of earlier decades.
See: V & A Collection, Ref: Gilbert Collection Loan 404-2008, Dresden snuff box.

See: The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes, Charles Truman, pub. 1991, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, p.171.