Sunday, 20 November 2016

Georgian Menagerie: Enamel Frogs

#ObjectOfTheDay
Enamel snuff-box or bonbonnière (sweet box), c. 1765-80.
Sold at Bonham's.
This little frog sold for £1,500 at Bonham's in 2011, and had originally been part of a large collection amassed by Mort and Moira Lesser [see their collection here]. He is made from enamel on copper and was made in Birmingham or Bilston (probably the latter) in the 1760s or 1770s, as were lots of other little 'critters' just like him. There is another frog in the collection at Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery; he is painted with a different pattern but it looks like the two frogs were stamped from a similar mould, and both are 4.8 to 5 cm high.


Frog held at Wolverhampton Museum.

Wolverhampton Museum date their box at 1775-1780.

More detail has been added to the mound that the frog is sitting on in the Wolverhampton example, with the frog's 'fingers' intertwined in the grass. The base of the latter box has a spray of flowers.


Although not pictured on the Bonham's site, the lid of their frog [top image] was painted 'with lovers seated in a rural landscape'. Another box, from a private collection [below], gives an impression of that scene.

Another frog (and its lid) from a private collection, c. 1780.
Showing the curvature of the base, as these were objects for the pocket.

More Frog Boxes
Enamel frog box (5 cm), c. 1780. Christie's.

Although more crudely painted than the others, this little box [above] sold for £2,750 at Christie's in 2013. The base (not pictured) shows 'an amorous scene of a couple being shot by Cupid's arrow'.

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