A rare Russian varicolor gold and guilloché enamel snuffbox, Jean François Xavier Boudde, St. Petersburg, 1780. The shallow, circular box of red gold with slip-on lid set with a painted glass view of fisherman on a river in sepia, the sides and base enameled in a translucent steel blue over a guilloché semé with dots ground, bordered by bands of matted yellow gold chased with scrolling leaves enameled translucent green and simulated pearls of white opaque enamel. Struck with Boudde’s mark (Latin FXB in a heart-shaped incuse), a St. Petersburg assay mark dated 178?, an engraved Cyrillic letter П as a date mark for 1780, and 1084 stamped on the flange. Dia. 2 1/2 in., height 5/8 in. (1.7 cm). (6.8 x 1.7 cm).
Sotheby & Co., London, December 10, 1962, lot 30, illustrated.
Gold boxes by (Jean) François Xavier Boudde (fl. 1769-1785/9) are quite rare; only a handful survive in public and private collections. The greatest number are housed in the Hermitage’s Gold Room and include jeweled presentation boxes with portraits of Catherine II, Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, and Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future Alexander I) as a child. (This collection also includes an important chalice in gold, filigree, and enamel as well as a gold bottle holder for Catherine II.) Outside of Russia, a gold and enamel box with a view of the Bronze Horseman is in the Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum and large gold box with enamel plaques after Boucher is in the collection of the Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris (inv. J486). See O. Kostiuk, Peterburgskie iuveliry XVIII-XIX vek (St. Petersburg: Slaviia, 2000), pp. 82-83 and Heike Zech, Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection (London: V&A Publishing, 2015), pp. 126-127, no. 45.
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