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A SAXON 'STEIN CABINETS' AND GOLD BONBONNIÈRE
A SAXON 'STEIN CABINETS' AND GOLD BONBONNIÈRE

BY JOHANN CHRISTIAN NEUBER (1736-1808), DRESDEN, CIRCA 1780

Details
A SAXON 'STEIN CABINETS' AND GOLD BONBONNIÈRE
by Johann Christian Neuber (1736-1808), Dresden, circa 1780
Circular gold bonbonnière, the independent lid centred by an oval semi-translucent quartz plaque applied with a carved relief of bloodstone and other hardstones depicting a flowerspray tied with a ribbon, inlaid with two concentrical circles of petal-shaped hardstone plaques within engraved gold mounts numbered from 1 to 24 within flat simulated pearl borders on a polished gold band, the base similarly decorated with three concentrical circles of different hardstone plaques numbered from 57 to 86 around a central roundel inlaid with striated agate containing a central floral rosette with carnelian leaves and flat simulated pearl centre and framed by a polished gold band with flat simulated pearls, the sides with two rows of various hardstone plaques numbered from 25 to 56 some of which have been replaced by various shell and stone plaques
3 in. (75 mm.) diam.
Literature
W. Holzhausen, Johann Christian Neuber, ein sächsischer Meister des 18. Jahrhunderts, Dresden, 1935, pp. 16, 17, illustrated figs. 12 and 13.

Lot Essay

Among the snuff-boxes, watchcases, chatelaines and notebooks Neuber produced, he was, and still is, best known for mounted hardstone boxes containing booklets identifying the various hardstones used. In an advertisement in the Journal der Moden of April 1786, Neuber praised his stock-in-trade which he sold 'at the cheapest prices', and the present box must have been of the category of 'oval and circular boxes for gentlemen and ladies, as stone-cabinets, mounted in gold and lined with gold, of all Saxon country-stones, such as carnelians, chalcedonies, amethysts, jaspers, agates and petrified wood, numbered, together with an inventory of the names, and where they can be found; a box for gentlemen (Mannsdose) costs 150-300 Reichsthaler, a box for ladies (Damesdose) 90-150 Reichsthaler' (W. Holzhausen, op. cit., p. 12).
A stylistically very close box with petal-shaped stones is in the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris (illustrated in C. Le Corbeiller, European and American Snuff Boxes 1730-1830, London, 1966, fig. 473), and very similar is the bonbonnière from the Dreesmann Collection, sold Christie's, London, 11 April 2002, lot 947. Three oval examples are also recorded (H. and S. Berry Hill, Antique Gold Boxes, London, New York, 1953, figs. 112 and 113, and A. K. Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, Woodbridge, 1990, figs. 692 and 692A and Christie's, Geneva, 14 November 1995, lot 51). Two further similar circular boxes were sold Christie's, Geneva, 14 November 1995, lots 92 and 112.
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