This is a lot of the last auction!
Attributed to Johann Christian Neuber à Dresde, 86 x 62 x 30 mm, circa 1780
A gold-mounted hardstone snuff box of museum quality, a so-called "Stein-Cabinet" created by one of the most famous German goldsmiths of the 18th century
Case: octagonal box, two later French import marks for gold 1864-1893.
The octagonal box is inlaid with 60 numbered specimens of semi-translucent and opaque hardstones such as dendritic and banded agate, jasper, chalcedony, etc., mounted within slim gold bands. The hinged lid is inlaid with 16 stones that are individually numbered on the inside gold bands. In the centre sits an oval portrait cartouche protected by a rose quartz dome inside a narrow blue enamel border, surrounded by a wide, intricately engraved frame. The base is ornamented in a similar manner, with the numbers 45 to 60 engraved on the gold bands, radiating from an oval central agate panel. The sides are inlaid with 28 rectangular agate plaques numbered 17 to 44 within slim gold mounts. The geometric borders on the lid are engraved with ovals and flowers, the vertical gold bands with a wave-like pattern while the outer frame is engraved with interlacing patterns.
Neuber occasionally produced hand-written booklets where he described the stones he used and the locations in Saxony where they had been found. The numbers engraved above each specimen corresponded to the number in the booklet.
Today Johann Christian Neuber’s opulent boxes reside in important museums and collections all over the world. They exert a powerful allure – the meticulous mounting of the stones, the stones themselves and particularly the exquisite selection and arrangement of the materials are what makes Neuber’s boxes such highly sought-after collector’s objects.
Johann Christian Neuber (1736-1808) of Dresden, jeweler to the court and lapidary artist, trained as a goldsmith and lapidary with his future father-in-law Heinrich Taddel. In 1762 he was accepted as a member of the gold workers’ guild in Dresden and from 1767 on he worked at court; in 1769 Neuber was made warden of the "Grünes Gewölbe" and in 1775 he was appointed jeweler to the court.
Neuber’s work is strongly influenced by the neoclassical style. He specialized in making snuff boxes decorated with gold and hardstones, which were precious enough to be given as royal gifts on a regular basis. In 1781 Neuber created a magnificent table for the Elector Frederick August of Saxony, which the king presented to Louis-Auguste Baron de Breteuil in gratitude for his assistance in the peace treaty of Teschen – the table is considered Neuber’s masterpiece.
Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Christian_Neuber, as of 09/26/2019
Case: very good, repaired, hairline, slightly chipped