Gold Boxes Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection

Gold Boxes

Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection


Price: $14.95

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Imprint: V & A Publishing
  • Trim Size: 6 12 x 7 12
  • ISBN: 9781851778409
  • Page Count: 128
  • Illustrations: 170 color illustrations
  • Rights: North America

This small volume on precious gold boxes—specifically 18th-century snuffboxes—features some of the most beautiful examples from the famous collection of Sir Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert. Their passion for elegance, color, beauty, and craftsmanship is palpable in every single artifact they acquired. Used by aristocrats to signify taste, status, and wealth in the single gesture of taking a pinch of snuff, boxes like these were meant to be admired from up close. These miniature masterpieces were a key accessory for every stylish man and woman in the 18th century, reflecting the culture and fashion of the period. Gold is the defining material of the 50 masterpieces presented, but the variety of decorative materials—including Japanese lacquer, enamelwork, inlaid precious stones, portraits, and micromosa­ics, a term that Gilbert coined—is extraordinary. The collection boasts four diamond-set boxes associated with Frederick II of Prussia, several owned by Catherine the Great, and other exquisite examples made throughout Europe.

About the author

Heike Zech is curator of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.