Late 18th / Early 19th Century, The Mosaic Possibly Italian, Box Probably French




The round tortoiseshell tobacco box with a pull-off lid centering a fine glass-covered oval micro-mosaic depicting a round tower with buttresses and embattlements, on a square embankment, water possibly at the base, set within a rectangular gilt frame* (not tested due to glass covering) with anthemion inner rim within four carved foliate spandrels on a stippled ground, all within a gold half-round mount (the mount tested at 22-24K)


The tower is very much like a castle, an emblem of grandeur and of society.
It is also a symbol of the defense and individual fortitude.


The term 'micromosaic' is used to describe mosaics made of the minuscule pieces in a glass-like material

called smalti (it. enamels).  Some micromosaics contain more than 5000 pieces per square inch.

First developed in the eighteenth century, micromosaics were particularly fashionable in Neoclassical times.

Condition : Excellent; the upper left corner of the glass with a small stable crack;

minor nicks and small scratches appropriate to age and usage; several dents to the half-round mount.

* The gilt frame beneath the glass has been inspected through a loupe by a jeweler. 

Due to the glass covering, it could not be tested. 

It is likely gilt bronze, and priced accordingly.


3.25” Diameter x .75” High








The base interior with more transparency that the top at right Top interior, showing less transparency than the base at left

Verso showing appropriate wear



See Also :


George III Portrait-Mounted Tortoiseshell

Tobacco Box England, c1800,

 with portrait of a Commander

John Obrisset Silver-Mounted

Tortoiseshell Tobacco Box

Depicting George II on Horseback

viewing his fleet below

French Gilt Bronze Mounted Tortoiseshell

Snuff or Tobacco Box, c1800-1820

Pressed and carved with leafy tendrils




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M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts / 581 South Perkins Road /  Memphis, TN 38117 / USA /  Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment




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Early 19th Century Micro-mosaic Mounted Tortoiseshell Tobacco Box