M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS
EARLY 18TH CENTURY PRESSED TORTOISESHELL PLAQUE
c1710, In the Manner of John Obrisset *
SILVER-MOUNTED as a SNUFF BOX by JOHN REILY, London, 1823
Of oblong form with canted corners, the hinged pressed tortoiseshell cover depicting Alexander the Great
accompanied by his lieutenant, Hephaesion, visiting the mourning family of the defeated Persian king Darius III
after the battle of Issus, above a relief inscription : 'Sui victoria indicat Regem';
the heavy gauge silver box with machine turned base straight and sides within reeded edge,
and a foliate thumb lift, the gilt interior with crisp marks to the solid cover and base;
(the plaque verso not visible for inspection for inscriptions)
The scene is after the painting by Charles Le Brun, 'The Queens of Persia at the Feet Alexander'
or 'Tent of Darius', 1661 -
and more likely the 1702 engraving of the same by Gérard Édelinck,
issued as the frontispiece to William Parsons's' 'The Tent of Darius' explain'd after André Félibien (cf. O'Connell).
Subsequent engravings (and tapestries) of the painting display more a more expansive and detailed perimeter
(including the inscription) than painted in the original. (See Illustrations Below)
* A similar oval box in horn by John Obrisset, inscribed 'OB' verso, resides in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
The "Tent of Darius" also appears in ivory relief on a snuff box housing a
Jean Etienne Liotard miniature portrait of John, 1st Earl of Spencer.
The hexagonal shape plaque and box is typical of c1710, England.
'Sui victoria indicat Regem' : 'Victory over self points out the King';
also the adopted motto of the family of Rye (Norfolk and Suffok)
* This pressed plaque is typical of the type work of Obrisset, but in an octagonal rather than oval form.
(John Obrisset was considered the premier maker of horn and tortoise boxes.
The son of an ivory carver who immigrated to London from Dieppe, France with the Restoration,
Obrisset was not recorded as a member of any of the guilds.
His name (usually monogrammed OB) appears on many horn and tortoiseshell boxes
of the late 17th and early 18th century.
Obrisset specialized in portraits of English Monarchs from Charles I to George II,
among other topics,
as mythology and four variants of a box with the name and Arms of Sir Francis Drake executed in 1712).
Condition : Excellent; minor tarnish residue beneath the gilt to the interior.
(It is unknown whether this was previously as a snuff or tobacco box that needed remounting, or as a plaque only.
In either case, Reiley was an excellent silversmith, making goods of quite high quality.)
3.25" Long / 4.8 oz.
Charles Le Brun, 'The Queens of Persia at the Feet Alexander' or 'Tent of Darius', 1661.
This painting won the admiration of Louis XIV who confirmed him in his post as Official Painter of the King.
Note the development of the tent and trees,as well as the shield lower right, not depicted in the original painting
Also See :
Queen Anne / George I Pressed Horn Tobacco Box
John Obrisset / "Tent of Darius"
England, c1705-28 / Initialed 'OB'
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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