A GERMAN ENAMELLED GOLD SNUFF-BOX
A GERMAN ENAMELLED GOLD SNUFF-BOX

WITH THE HANAU TOWN MARK, CIRCA 1790/1795, ALSO WITH PRESTIGE MARKS, LATER STRUCK WITH TWO FRENCH POST-1893 IMPORT MARKS FOR GOLD

Details
A GERMAN ENAMELLED GOLD SNUFF-BOX
WITH THE HANAU TOWN MARK, CIRCA 1790/1795, ALSO WITH PRESTIGE MARKS, LATER STRUCK WITH TWO FRENCH POST-1893 IMPORT MARKS FOR GOLD
large oval box, the cover, sides and base with panels enamelled with winter branches and harbour scenes painted en camaïeu on an opalescent oyster-pink ground, within engine-turned frames of translucent red enamel, the cover centred with an oval enamel plaque depicting the Judgement of Paris, the slightly raised borders chased with translucent green enamel foliage, red enamel berries and opaque white enamel beads and flowerheads on a sablé ground, the interior of the cover engraved with an inscription in Russian cyrillic
3 5/16 in. (84 mm.) wide
The translated inscription reads 'Granted by her Imperial highness Impress Ekaterina Alekseevna (Catherine the Great) to serving army Captain Timophey Mironov son of Vremev, for bringing seven Polish banners after Pragenago (Praga) assault. On the first day of January 1795.'
Provenance
Unknown French auction, February 1922.
Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 31 March 1938, lot 61.
Georges G. B. Collection; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 14 December 1949, lot 6.

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Tom Johans

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Lot Essay

The recipient of this box was Timofei Mironovich Vremev (1774-1825), son of Miron Fedorovich Vremev and his wife Elizaveta Matveevna, née Arapova. Descendants of a Moldavian family who had followed Prince Cantecuzene into Russian exile, Timofei married first Nataliia Alekseevna Martynova, by whom he had three daughters, and second Aleksandra Iakovlevna Velikovich, to whom was born one son.
The presentation of this box by Catherine the Great is one commemoration of the last semblance of Polish independence. 1794 was the year of the Polish insurrection under Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817). Having seen heroic service as a volunteer in the army of the United States, for which he was granted American citizenship, Kosciuszko returned to Poland and served in its army from 1791. On hearing of the insurrection he took over the organization of the army in April, and had mixed success against the Russians, until he was overcome by the combined efforts of Russia, Austria and Prussia. On 10 October at the battle of Maciejowice 7,000 Poles were defeated by 16,000 Russians, when Kosciuszko was wounded and captured. The Polish army fought on until the carnage at Praga (now a suburb of Warsaw) on 29 October, the last corps capitulating on 18 November. The secret third partition of Poland between Russia and Austria was agreed on 3 January 1795, Prussia reluctantly agreeing to it in the following October.
Kosciuszko was released by Catherine's son Paul in 1796, when he returned to America, before retiring to exile in France where he died. The marks on this box are the same as those on a box in the Louvre, illustrated in S. Grandjean, Les tabatières du musée du Louvre, Paris, 1981, p. 442, no. 546.

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