ENGLISH SCHOOL, 18TH CENTURY
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
ENGLISH SCHOOL, 18TH CENTURY

Details
ENGLISH SCHOOL, 18TH CENTURY
James Thomson (1700-1748), in blue coat and powdered wig
on ivory, set into the interior cover of a gilt-metal mounted tortoiseshell snuff-box, the exterior engraved 'THOMSON'S SNUFF BOX', the interior with a plaque engraved, 'Tutor'd by thee, sweet Poetry exalts / Her voice to Ages; and informs the page / With Music, Image, Sentiment, and Thought / Never to die.'
the miniature, oval, 1.3/8 in. (35 mm.) high, set into the interior cover of a George I gilt-metal mounted tortoiseshell snuff-box, the exterior engraved 'THOMSON'S SNUFF BOX', the interior with a plaque engraved, 'Tutor'd by thee, sweet Poetry exalts / Her voice to Ages; and informs the page / With Music, Image, Sentiment, and Thought / Never to die.' (the box, 2.7/8 in. (74 mm.) wide)
Provenance
This or a similar box, in the possession of Mrs Hamilton, in 1823.
With D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd., in 1995.
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

Lot Essay

James Thomson (1700-1748) was a Scottish poet and playwright, one of nine children born to Thomas Thomson (c. 1666-1716), a Presbyterian minister, and his wife Beatrix Trotter (d. 1725). Thomson trained in the arts and divinity at Edinburgh, where he began to write poetry. He achieved success working as a poet in London between 1725 and 1730, publishing The Seasons by subscription to over 457 subscribers, including Queen Caroline, before embarking on a Grand Tour of the Continent. He returned to London in 1733 and through various patrons, was admitted into the Whig set and introduced to Frederick, Prince of Wales. He is best remembered for his poem Rule Britannia, which was set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740, in order to commemorate the accession of George II and the third birthday of Princess Augusta.
The present miniature was widely reproduced after having been drawn by Thomas Unwins, engraved by J. H. Robinson and published on 6 May 1823, when it was said to have been taken from an original miniature inserted in the lid of the poet's snuff-box, then in the possession of a Mrs Hamilton. It is tempting, therefore, to believe this snuff-box to be that belonging to James Thomson. The lines of poetry engraved on the interior of the cover are from Thomson's poem, Summer part of his The Seasons. The same lines are reproduced below his memorial in Westminster Abbey, designed by Robert Adam. Different lines from Autumn are engraved on the interior of the cover of a gold snuff-box in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum (inv. no. WA1946.139).
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