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Snuff box: M.79 & A-1961

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Circular box with tortoise shell sides and glass lid and base; the lid decorated with a carved mother-of-pearl cherub, pearls and beads

Tortoise shell sides inlaid with gold and silver piqué work; glass lid and base; the lid with applied carved mother-of-pearl, pearls and beads of turquoise, emerald, sapphire, garnet (or coloured glass) and bone. Circular with straight sides decorated with a geometric pattern of silver scale-work and gold flowerheads; the moulded borders decorated with silver and gold ropework. The top of the flat pull-off lid has a vignette made of beads depicting a tree and flowers beside an oval cartouche containing the entwined initials 'CC' beneath a crown held by a mother-of-pearl cherub. There is a gilt metal mount in the base, but the mount from the lid is missing.


History note: Not known before testator

Legal notes

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 6.6 cm
Height: 2.2 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1960-12-13) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


18th Century, Late
King Carlos Iv of Spain, born 1748, crowned 1788, died 1819
Production date: circa AD 1788


The lid of the box had the applied inscription 'Coronamiento de Carlos IV', which was lost some time before 21 August 2007, but which dates the box to the year of Carlos IV's coronation or shortly after, and indicates the box was probably made in Spain. (The word 'coronamiento' is an early form of the word 'coronation'.)

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Beads composed of glass ( possibly) emerald turquoise sapphire garnet pearl
Sides composed of tortoise shell
Cherub composed of mother-of-pearl
Inlay In Sides composed of gold silver
Lid And Base composed of glass

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.79 & A-1961
Primary reference Number: 150694
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 May 2019 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

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 (2024) "Snuff box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-02-22 23:35:49

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=Snuff box |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-02-22 23:35:49|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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