Rectangular gold snuffbox with shaped form, decorated with foliage and flower scrolls on a champlevé blue enamel background, the hinged lid is applied with the crowned cipher CA of the King of Sardinia set with diamonds in an entourage of stylized foliage enhanced with diamonds.
Good overall condition.
Probably Turin (Italy), 1831–1849.
Without visible mark.
H. 2,5 x W. 8,4 x D. 5,7 cm - Gross weight: 164.0 g.
Presented to Colonel Sir Thomas Reade (1782-1849), Consul General in Tunis, on August 8, 1846, in recognition of his important contribution to the maintenance of friendly relations between the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Regency of Tunisia.
This diplomatic gift belonged to Sir Thomas Reade (1782-1849), a former British Army officer during the Napoleonic Wars. The latter had a brilliant military career, participating in campaigns in Holland, Egypt and America, as well as various assignments across Europe. In 1816 Reade left with Admiral Sir Hudson Lowe for Saint Helena with Napoleon Bonaparte. Reade was deputy general to Lowe, the commander of the garrison guarding Napoleon at St Helena, becoming the "chief in between" since Napoleon and Lowe did not get along. After Napoleon's death on May 5, 1821, Thomas Reade returned to England, and on June 5, 1824, he was appointed Consul General at Tunis, a position he held until his death in 1849. At the time Reade was in Tunisia he collected many antiquities, most of which are now in the British Museum.
A handwritten diplomatic letter from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Clémente Solaro de la Margarita, dated August 8, 1846 in Turin, in French, accompanies this precious snuffbox and certifies its provenance. It is dubbed in English.
A similar snuffbox with diamonds-set cipher of Queen Maria Cristina of Savoy (1779-1849), with mark of Turin c. 1835, sold at Sotheby's, London, October 25, 2016, lot 734.
Even though it is struck with Italian standard, the quality of the enamelling is very much in vein with the production of the celebrated Geneva gold box makers Bautte & Moynier. That is not surprising, especially as this box was made for presentation by a member of the Royal family of Savoy, whose royal residence was in Turin.