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Oval "Quatre-Couleur" Snuffbox

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description As demonstrated by this box that originally belonged to Princess Mary, a daughter of King George III of England, the goldsmith can vary the color of gold by alloying (combining) it with other metals. The colors vary depending on the metals used. The introduction of copper results in red, silver in green, and platinum in white. This technique, which was perfected during the 18th century, is known as "quatre-couleur" (four-colored) regardless of the number of colors used.
  • Special Exhibition of the Works of Art of the Mediaeval, Renaissance, and More Recent Periods. South Kensington Museum, London. 1862.
  • Objects of Vertu: Precious Works of the Eighteenth Century. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
Provenance Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh [1776-1857], England; by bequest to Prince George, Duke of Cambridge [1819-1904], England, 1857; Sale, Christie's, London, June 8 1904; acquired by Henry Walters, Baltimore; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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ca. 1760
gold and gold alloy
(Gold, Silver & Jewelry)
Accession Number
H: 1 1/2 x W: 2 7/16 in. (3.8 x 6.2 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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