Monday, January 20, 2014

Object of the Day: A Spice Box, 1720

Such spice boxes from the early Eighteenth Century were usually made in Paris or London by Huguenot goldsmiths, however, this one, quite unusually, comes from Rome perhaps for a visiting English or French patron. Spice boxes like this one were often sold in pairs or sets, so it's quite possible that  this Italian specimen from the 
Victoria & Albert Museum could have been made as a copy to complete an existing set.

This box takes a complicated  octagonal form mounted on four scroll feet. . Panels depicting classical busts, strapwork, and scrolling foliage on a matted ground adorn the covers which are hinged from the sides.  Another unusual feature of this example is that the interior of the box is divided into three gilded compartments--each with an additional cylindrical compartment at the center.

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