Circular box, about 1780. Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.349-2008

Circular box, about 1780. Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.349-2008

Circular box
Workshop of Johann Christian Neuber
Germany
About 1780
Gold, decorated with hardstones and micromosaics
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.349-2008

Known as a 'bonbonnière', this type of box would have contained sweets to freshen the breath, rather like peppermints.

The box is attributed to the Dresden workshop of Johann Christian Neuber, while the micromosaics made from tiny pieces of coloured glass were most likely produced in the studio of Giacomo Raffaelli, one of the most talented of the mosaic makers from Rome.

The cover of the circular box is decorated with a micromosaic panel of a hound seated on the grass, with a deep blue background. On the base of the box there is a micromosaic panel of a butterfly, also on a deep blue ground, bordered by carnelian ovals and turquoise and jasper forget-me-nots. The walls have panels of lapis lazuli, some hung with wreaths of laurel in green jasper, within similar borders.

The inclusion of an Italian mosaic on a German box demonstrates the wide popularity of this medium throughout Europe.