M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS

 

18TH CENTURY DUTCH SILVER TOBACCO BOX

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1796

Christoffel Woortman

 

 

 

 

 Of very heavy gauge silver and rounded oblong form with convex sides,

 the lid and verso each with panels of Biblical scenes  :

The lid referring to King Solomon, and the duality of his nature and worship;

The verso depicting The Prodigal Son.

 

THE LID WITH THREE PANELS :

the end panels set within a foliate surround, the center panel with a colonnade and beneath drapery centered by a crown,

 the intricate embossing all against a stippled background;

the conforming hinged cover with a plain thumb-piece, the rim engraved with the initials A C F H;

well marked on the cover, center interior, with the Amsterdam mark, and the year mark N, for 1796,

and a maker's mark Christoffel Woortman*, (a duck on water within an oval punch)

 

CENTER PANEL :

Probably relating the well known story of the Judgment of the Baby, in which two sisters claim to the mother and Solomon's decision to require the cutting of the baby in half to reveal the identity of the real mother.  However the two figures here are male instead of female.  It features Solomon on the stepped throne between two lions, with illustrations of the two women arguing over the child, and an attendant with sword preparing to divide the child.  Baal and some of the other foreign gods also required the sacrifice of babies and young children.

 

LEFT PANEL :

Possibly the Queen of Sheba before him, accompanied by her servants, Solomon again on his stepped throne sided by two lions and holding a scepter. (First Kings 10, and Chronicles 9)

 

RIGHT PANEL :

Depicting the idolatry into which Solomon drifted and to whom he built temples.  The animal-headed figure to the left may also represent Baal, who demanded the sacrifices of babies.

 

THE VERSO WITH A SINGLE PANEL DIVIDED BY TREES:

The single long panel divided by two leafed trees forming three scenes, all within a foliate surround including tulips on the ground, the intricate embossing all against a stippled background.

 

LEFT SCENE :

The young prodigal son departing on horseback bidding, farewell to his mother and father

 

CENTER PANEL :

The prodigal son being sent to the fields to tend pigs, in a fenced farm, a village in the distance.

"He longed to fill his stomach with the pods and the pigs, but no one gave him anything".

 

RIGHT PANEL :

The return of the prodigal son being embraced by his father, his mother with open arms, and the brother standing by.

 

Note :

The Judgment of Solomon has long been a popular subject for artists and is often chosen for decoration of courthouses. In the Netherlands, many 17th century courthouses (Vierschaar rooms) contain a painting or relief of the scene.

 

*Christoffel Woortman, the son of distiller Albert Woortman and Maria Allebee, worked as a silversmith in Amsterdam, with marks between 1778 and 1801.  He was a "smallworker", specializing in articles such as etuis, corkscrews, and tobacco boxes. A similar box by Woortman, the lid only chased with the Prodigal Son scene, realized 2449.00 USD at Christie's Amsterdam, December 2011. 

 

Condition : Excellent, with slight expected wear to the high points of the embossing; the hinge very lightly sprung but in good working order, without breaks or repairs

6.8 oz. / 6.25” Long

  

SOLD

  

#6459

 

Please Inquire 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    ALSO SEE

 

 

18th Century Dutch Pierced & Engraved Tobacco Box

North Holland, c1740-1770

The cover with figural roundels representing Fortune, Love, Hope and Faith

 

 

  

Engraved Dutch Silver Box, possibly Beschuit (Biscuit)

The hinged lid with dancing villagers

5" Diameter / 12.9 oz.

 

 

 

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18th Century Dutch Silver Figural Tobacco Box, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1774, with Biblical scenes depicting Solomon and the Judgment of the Baby, and The Prodigal Son