LONDON, Dover Street – Unseen for 88 years, an ornate gold box by the master Saxon court jeweller Johann Christian Neuber (1736-1808) will be auctioned by Dreweatts on Thursday 3rd December in the Iconic Jewels & Treasures sale. The piece is one of 14 miniature masterpieces to be offered in the auction from an important American collection of 18th and 19th century European gold boxes.
Neuber was a celebrated goldsmith who specialized in creating ‘Steinkabinett Tabatiere’ (stone cabinet boxes) for the Saxon court to reflect both their elite status and interest in natural history.
This excellent example of a Neuber ‘Steinkabinett Tabatiere’ bonbonniere hails from the late 18th century and features a micromosaic plaque from the workshop of Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836), an Italian mosaicist celebrated from recreating Leonard da Vinci’s Last Supper in mosaic.
This box was last recorded as being sold in the Ball-Graupe sale in Berlin in 1927, remaining in a family collection for the past 88 years [est. £150,000-250,000].
The second star lot is a beautiful jewelled gold and enamel snuff box with timepiece and musical automaton, engraved Decombaz & Rich London. The names Louis Decombaz and John Rich are among those linked with the production of the musical automata that flourished in Geneva at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries [est. £200,000-30,000].
A symbol of the social elite, ornate gold boxes such as these were favored as diplomatic gifts in 18th century Europe. In the early 19th century they became highly collectible objects and their exquisite craftsmanship has ensured this collectible status has remained to this day.
This important collection will complete an International touring exhibition throughout November prior to the auction on Thursday 3rd December:
· Bloomsbury Offices in Milan – Via Borgunuovo 12, from 9th – 11th November
· Mallet New York – from 19th – 21st November
· Mallet London from 27th November