Of quite fine quality and condition in .958 Britannia standard silver,
the oval box with straight silver sides and projecting stand-away hinge,
the cover and base of tortoiseshell, the slightly domed lid inlaid with a Baroque shell shaped design
of engraved silver and mother-of-pearl strapwork and scrolls with foliate and floral terminals
the silver sides marked with R.O crowned, and a leopard's head erased;
the silver mount interior inscribed PA
These early boxes employed shell carved from a turtle shell, which was heated and pressed to form the lid and base.
The lid was inlaid with shapes of engraved silver and mother-of-pearl.
The silver parts of the box were soldered and the hinge was pinned to the base and soldered to the mount.
The tortoise shell lid was set into the mount.
Ref : For a similar English box, see Fitzwilliam Museum Collection,
Catalogue number: H. 24, p. 136, dated 1700-30 :
Condition : Remarkably good with no apparent losses; a small break to the mother of pearl;
expected surface scratches and wear appropriate to age and usage;
a small areas on the outer silver rim have been re-rolled, but not replaced;
lid with a small v-crack to the tortoise at the hinge,
visible only from the inside;
the maker's mark rubbed to the top and left, but fully legible under magnification.
Britannia silver is somewhat softer than the sterling standard.
Small bends and dings of this type are usual and expected.
(Images are oversize for inspection).
As a general rule, boxes of this age are seldom marked.
The Marked Queen Anne Snuff Box below, by Thomas Roberts, is also in the Fitzwilliam
Roberts, Thomas (silversmith), silversmith, England, London.
Thomas Roberts first mark was recorded on 20 November 1703.
There is no record of his apprenticeship or freedom.
Collection : Louis C. G. Clarke
Date : circa 1703 — 1707
The silver box has soldered seams and is set with a portrait painted in oil and gilt on the back of glass
height, whole, 1.5, cm / length, whole, 7.9, cm / width, whole, 5.5, cm
Marks : Maker's;on the inside of the lid; struck; "RO" beneath a crown; Thomas Roberts;
standard mark; on the inside of the lid; struck; a leopard's head erased;
(Britannia standard silver, i.e. 95.8% pure silver, was used in the making of this box).
Documentation : Grimwade, Arthur G., 1976. London Goldsmiths, 1697-1837,
Their marks and lives, from original registers at Goldsmiths' Hall and other sources. London: Faber & Faber
Ref: for maker's mark see pp. 172 and 173, no. 2391
An identical box has been held at the Fitzwilliam, Uk, id/object/150677