A Superb and Very Rare George III Table Snuff Box

Maker: 
Thomas Phipps and Edward Robinson
Dated: 
1788
Dimensions: 
4.25" x 3" x 1.25" (10.9cm x 7.6cm x 3.3cm)
Weight: 
8.6 oz

Of oblong octagonal shape, the top with 2 unusual sliding lids and with a plain sunken eye-shaped thumbplate, all surrounded by radiating lines and pellets. The ends engraved with 4 looped chains enclosing a leaf motif within each link. The base with a vacant oblong cartouche with cut corners surrounded by further radiating lines and pellets. The sides engraved with a basket of fruit at each end flanked by 2 lozenge shaped frames enclosing an 8 leaf motif on the angles.. The longer sides with a smaller but taller basket of fruit flanked by two further upright panels enclosing floral and leaf sprays and all on a background of horizontal lines and pellets.

Price: 
£8500

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This is one of the most unusual and rare George III boxes we have ever had. The very distinctive feature of having two horizontal sliding lids (marked) is unlike any other box we have seen from this period. One could be forgiven for thinking that this piece might have masonic connections as the sunken thumbplate looks somewhat like the "All-seeing Eye", however, in the absence of any other Masonic devices it is more likely to be just a design feature. The size is also unusual for this period; most table snuff boxes originate in the 19th century whereas the habit of carrying one's own box in a pocket was more traditional in the 18th century. Of course most gold boxes were too precious to carry this way but large silver snuff containers are seldom found before 1800. This box is in superb condition with original gilding inside and beautiful engraving on all the outer surfaces.