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Snuff box: M.5-1964

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Silversmith: Popov, Afranasij & Stephan (Probably)




Silver, parcel-gilt and niello; shaped hemi-spherical, carved and nielloed with figures and animals on a gilt ground

Silver, parcel-gilt and niello; shaped hemi-spherical with flat back, serpentine front and straight sides. The almost flat lid is hinged and has a scrolled thumbpiece at the centre of the front. The lid, sides and base are carved and nielloed with figures, animals, trees and symbols on a recessed matted gilt ground. Depicted on the lid is a winged female figure holding a scepter in her left hand and a quill in her right; one cherub holds a book for her to write in, whilst another holds a scroll of music for her to read; round the border are cherubs riding hippocamps, masks, grotesques and rocaille decoration. On the sides four pairs of courting couples are depicted (front) holding a fox and hen, (right) drinking coffee or chocolate, (back) tending sheep, and (left) having their fortunes told. On the base three cherubs are depicted decorating a swan with garlands of flowers. The interior is gilt.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Arnold John Hugh Smith through the National Art Collections Fund

Place(s) associated

  • Veliki Ustiug ⪼ Russia

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1964) by Smith, Arnold John Hugh


3rd quarter 18th Century
Catherine II
Production date: AD 1765

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Surface composed of gold
Decoration composed of niello
Box And Lid Height 3.6 cm Length 9.1 cm
Base Of Box Width 6.1 cm
Lid Including Hinge Width 6.4 cm

Materials used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.5-1964
Primary reference Number: 140606
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 20 October 2017 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Snuff box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-02 16:41:35

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{{cite web|url= |title=Snuff box |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-02 16:41:35|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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