A Swiss gold and enamel Imperial Presentation snuff box for Grand Duke Paul Petrovich and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia, circa 1780. The oval body engine-turned, the borders chased with interlaced ribbons and flowers in white and pink enamel on a turquoise ground, the sides with column-form reserves enameled en suite, the hinged cover with an oval reserve with the entwined Cyrillic monogram of the initials P and M on an opaque white enameled ground and flanked by crossed laurel and olive branches in translucent green enamel. Dimensions: 1 1/2″ h x 3 1/4″ w x 2 1/2″ d (3.8 x 8.2 x 6.3 cm).
Provenance: Sotheby’s New York, June 23, 1983, Lot 107.
The future Emperor Paul I (1754-1801), toured Europe with his second wife, Maria Feodorovna in 1780 and 1781. The heir and his consort’s tour was technically “incognito,” the Imperial couple used the romantic alias of the “Comte et Comtesse du Nord,” but still highly public and the couple acquired or were gifted with many fine objects, possibly including the offered lot. See Alexei Guzanov, “The Grand Tour of the Comte and the Comtesse du Nord,” Pavlovsk: The Palace and the Park, Paris, 1993.
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