New Book | The Wallace Collection Catalogues: Gold Boxes

Posted in books, catalogues by Editor on May 14, 2013

From Paul Holberton:

Charles Truman, The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Gold Boxes (London: Paul Holberton, 2013), 352 pages, ISBN: 978-0900785948, £100.

1159.mediumThe 18th-century gold snuffbox was the ultimate fashion accessory – beautifully made, exquisitely carved and very expensive, and, like fashion, its form and ornament changed according to the taste of the time. The skills of the goldsmith, the enameller, the lapidary and the miniaturist combined to form a piece – always different – for the most discerning clientele that Europe has ever known.

The Wallace Collection has some of the finest, and certainly some of the most famous, gold boxes in the world. Paris was the centre of taste in the 18th century and the collection contains a remarkable group of boxes by the greatest goldsmiths of the period: Jean Ducrollay, Pierre-François Drais and Louis Roucel. Somewhat surprisingly the Wallace Collection, which is noted for its French works or art, has some very important German boxes by Jean-Guillaume-Georges Kruger of Berlin, Johann Christian Neuber of
Dresden and Ignatius Peter Krafft of Hanau.

Charles Truman, who has catalogued the collection of gold boxes, is one of the leading authorities on the subject. In this book he discusses the history of snuff-taking and the development, manufacture and collecting of gold boxes, with a particular emphasis on the design sources from which the craftsmen repsonsible for these wonderful works of art took their inspiration. These 99 pieces in the catalogue represent a brilliant cross-section of the products of the European goldsmith from approximately 100 years from the late 1730s. This book will prove invaluable to collectors, academics and students interested in the 18th century.

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