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This box has been highly influenced by the likes of Johann Christian Neuber, Taddel & Stiehl who were making these boxes from the 1760s in Dresden. The maker of this box, Johann Georg Aigner, was born between 1761 and 1765 and became a master goldsmith in 1789. He was active up until 1820.
This box was made using the colourful Zellenmosaik or cell mosaic technique. This type of gold box was originally made in Dresden as a result of Saxony’s highly geographically desirable location with an abundance of semi precious stones and minerals. After the devastation of the Seven Years War (1756-63) Saxony needed to rebuild the economy and therefore focused on mining their raw materials for the use in the decorative arts.
There is a similar example also made by Johann Georg Aigner in 1795 on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum which can be seen in the image below (museum number 190-1878). Whilst it is a slightly different shape there are many similarities and it is clear that he was an exceptional goldsmith. Like his predecessors such as Neuber, Aigner had a remarkable ability to perfectly combine many different stones and minerals to create an exceptional display of natures beauty elegantly crafted in a beautifully designed gold structure.
Boxes in this style and of this quality are extremely rare and are a remarkable example of the great varieties of styles and designs that were found in gold boxes throughout Europe at the close of the 18th century.
Koopman Rare Art
Ground Floor Entrance
London Silver Vaults