Born in Pasewalk (Prussia) in 1768, Otto Samuel Keibel struck his mark as a goldsmith and jeweller in St. Petersburg on 12 October 1797. 'In the early 19th century this was the best workshop for gold boxes' (A. von Solodkoff, Russian Gold and Silverwork, Fribourg, 1981, p. 218). The present box must be one of Keibel's first recorded works and the hallmark featuring his scrolling initials in a horizontal oval is particularly rare. Whilst the box is one of Keibel's earliest works, the miniature must be one of Ritt's last portraits. It had formerly been suggested that the sitter is Tsar Nicholas I as a child. Although this identification could not be substantiated, the sitter must have been important enough that Ritt painted him a second time. This variant, with minor differences in the foreground, and now cracked, is in the Hermitage (illustrated in A. A. Karev, Miniaturn'ij portret v Rossii XVIII veka, Moscow, 1989, colour pl. 60).