The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.
87/882 Snuff box, turbo shell (Turbo marmoratus)/ gold, attributed to Ferdinand Meurant, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1808. Click to enlarge.

Snuff box attributed to Ferdinand Meurant

Made by Meurant, Ferdinand in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1808.

This rare snuffbox is one of the earliest dated examples of decorative metalwork fully crafted in Australia; there are only two earlier examples known to have survived: the 1801 snuffbox presented to Governor Phillip King by a Lieutenant Grant (National Museum of Australia), and the 1805 Collins silver pepper caster attributed to James Grove from Hobart. With the exception of the Bowman Flag in the Mitchell Library, this piece also shows the first known use of the kangaroo motif in Australian de...

Summary

Object No.

87/882

Object Statement

Snuff box, turbo shell (Turbo marmoratus)/ gold, attributed to Ferdinand Meurant, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1808

Physical Description

On oval snuff box, formed from a section of turbo shell, stripped back to reveal the mother of pearl. It has a 9 carat gold mount with a hinged lid. The mount is formed in scalloped semi-circles on either side of the body. The top and sides have bright-cut engraving and on the upper section of the top, an engraving of a kangaroo. The lower section has the inscription "Walter / Stevenson / Davidson / to his / honored / FATHER / N. So. Wales / 1808".

Marks

No marks.

Dimensions

Height

71 mm

Width

33 mm

Depth

26 mm

Production

Notes

This snuff box with the exception of the Bowman flag in the Mitchell Library, shows the first known use of a kangaroo motif in the decorative arts.

The distribution of the turbo shell is confined to tropical seas with extensive distribution around the coast of Australia. Davidson could have also acquired the shell while in Fiji between January and September 1807. The turbo shell has a partly marbled green surface which was removed to reveal the irridescent pearly colour below.

The vendor had previously attributed the snuffbox to Benjamin Scully (or Soully), an English silversmith who arrived in Australia as a convict in 1790.

History

Notes

Between 1931 and 1949 the snuffbox was lent to the Museum by a private Sydney lender. It was exhibited in 1968 at the First National Exhibition of Antiques in Canberra by a Miss P Newman, care of Stanley Lipscombe. The piece was also exhibited in the exhibition "The Kangaroo in Decorative Arts", National Gallery of Victoria, 1979-80 '.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1987

Acquisition Date

23 July 1987

Cite this Object

Harvard

Snuff box attributed to Ferdinand Meurant 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 June 2019, <https://ma.as/79059>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/79059 |title=Snuff box attributed to Ferdinand Meurant |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 June 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Know more about this object?

TELL US

Have a question about this object?

ASK US