Art History

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Going for Gold

Craftsmanship and Collecting of Gold Boxes

Tessa Murdoch is Deputy Keeper of the Sculpture, Ceramics, Metalwork and Glass Department at the Victoria and Albert Museum London and recently curated the exhibition Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars.

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

Going for Gold examines the art of the gold box in 18th and 19th century Europe. Distinguished international scholars explore the contributions made by individual workshops in major European centres of production in the context of contemporary patronage and the international market for such boxes. Consideration is given to the design of gold boxes with reference to the V&A’s important collection of design drawings. Leading experts explore the ways in which different techniques of gold box decoration – portrait miniatures, gems, enamels, mosaics and hard-stones – were developed.

Contributors to the volume include experts from Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, London, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, and St Petersburg. Senior museum curators, auction house specialists and independent scholars illustrate and discuss examples from private and public collections in their cities and elsewhere. The result is a unique record of the state of knowledge on the European production of gold boxes and of the history of collecting.

Going for Gold will appeal to international collectors, scholars, dealers, museum curators and museum visitors, and all those interested in gold and silver fine art.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-465-9
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $75.00
Release Date: March 2014
Page Extent / Format: 344 pp. / 297 x 210 mm
Illustrated: Illustrated throughout, including circa 70 colour images


List of Illustrations

Preface by Heike Zech

Chapter 1
Snuff-taking, Fashion and Accessories

Chapter 2
From the Boîte à Portrait to the Tabatière: The Production of Gold Boxes in Paris

Chapter 3
The Manufacture of Gold Boxes in Eighteenth-century Paris: The Ducrollay Workshop and its Successors Tiron de Nanteuil and Drais

Chapter 4
Designs for Gold Boxes in the Album of the Workshop of Jean Ducrollay and his Successors

Chapter 5
Swiss Gold Boxes: Myth or Reality?

Chapter 6
Gold Box Production in Hanau: The Extended Workbench of Frankfurt and its Trade Fair

Chapter 7
Beyond the Royal Court: Thoughts on the Gold Box Production in Berlin during the Reign of Frederick the Great

Chapter 8
Taddel, Stiehl and Neuber in Dresden: Three Makers of Gold Boxes during the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century

Chapter 9
Western European Refinement and Asiatic Luxury: Gold Boxes for the Imperial Court in Saint Petersburg

Chapter 10
Jean Pierre Ador and Russian Gold Boxes

Chapter 11
Jean Pierre Ador in London

Chapter 12
Retailing Gold Boxes in London and Bath

Chapter 13
Florentine Snuffboxes

Chapter 14
Count Brühl and his Collection of Porcelain Boxes

Chapter 15
Romanticism or Deceit: Some Counterfeit Eighteenth-century Parisian Gold Boxes in the

Chapter 16
Gold Boxes in the British Royal Collection

Chapter 17
The Rothschild as European Collectors of Gold Boxes

List of Contributors

A wonderful compilation of knowledge.
Christiane Grégoire, Musée Cognacq Jay, Paris

A tremendous success including groundbreaking research proving Hanau was one of the most important centres of the production of gold boxes in the eighteenth century. The symposium brought forward not just new research but also new or not widely known researchers.
Fabian Stein, London

Gold boxes are a delectable and tangible microcosm of the art and society from which they come, and this is also true of the innovative scholarship devoted to them today. As this remarkable volume reveals, the detective work involved in exploring design and craftsmanship, European centres of production, individual makers, retail, patronage and collecting, is breathtaking and impressive. The catalyst for this, Kenneth Snowman’s groundbreaking publication of 1966, inspired a new generation of gold box collectors, including Sir Arthur Gilbert, and scholars, notably Charles Truman, who together have given this glorious subject a new lease of life. Their passion and expertise is magnificently captured here in Tessa Murdoch’s and Heike Zech’s superb editing of the internationally-acclaimed papers given at the Going for Gold conference at the Wallace Collection and the V&A, London, in 2010.
Dame Rosalind Savill, former Director of The Wallace Collection

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