Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Gilbert Collection

I can tell I'm feeling better, I'm getting excited by some fabulous snuffboxes I just found online:

"The cartouche-shaped box is made from mother-of-pearl plaques mounted in a cage of gold chased in three colours. This is decorated with flowers and scrolls, set with circular cut diamonds, and encrusted with flowers and foliage of citrine, amethyst and coloured or foiled quartz. The rim of the cover is set with a profusion of diamonds, some foiled, including three large cushion-shaped diamonds and one pear-shaped diamond over a pink foil ground and ruby flowers." Description of a snuffbox commissioned by Frederick II, the Great of Prussia. Made in Berlin c 1765.

The Gilbert Collection is a collection of English silver, Italian mosaics, gold boxes, portrait miniatures and Roman enamel mosaics, by the late Sir Arthur Gilbert. It's now housed on display in Somerset House in London. I came across it when searching online for information on portrait enamel painters. Gilbert procured a number of fine portrait miniatures, including by Henry Bone (1755-1834), one of England's leading miniature portrait enamellers of the early 19th century:

George IV by Henry Bone
George Washington by Henry Bone

Why the interest in portrait enamellers? Ah, that's because I have a character in the wip* who is one. It's an occupation where the son of the cabinet-maker (such as Henry Bone) could rise to the wealth and status of gentleman.

* work-in-progress


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