A delightful silver snuff box depicting East Cliff Lodge in Ramsgate sold for world record price of £48,800 in Matthew Barton Ltd
s auction of European and Asian Works of Art on Wednesday, May 24th and Thursday, May 25th 2017, at 25 Blythe Road, West London, W14.
The oblong-shaped Victorian silver snuffbox by Hilliard & Thomason of Birmingham, dated from 1854 and was engraved with a view of East Cliff Lodge, Ramsgate after a watercolour by Turner. It was also engraved with the Montefiore crest of Sir Moses Haim Montefiore 1st Baronet FRS (1784-1885) the financier and philanthropist who married in 1812 Rachel Cohen (1784-1862) daughter of Levi Barent Cohen and sister to Hannah wife of Nathan Meyer Rothschild. The box had been estimated to fetch £800-1,200.
Auctioneer Matthew Barton said, after the sale: Sir Moses Montefiore is an important figure in Jewish and British history, one of the key figures in the struggle for Jewish emancipation. Although a lovely box in its own right, it was the interest in both the Montefiore provenance and the engraving of his lost mansion on the box which meant there was an exciting battle for it during the auction, with a bidder in the room competing against a telephone bidder in the final stages.
East Cliff Lodge appears to have been built in the mid 1790s boasting extensive gardens, romantic tunnels cut into the chalk and stupendous views out to sea. The Montefiores rented the property in 1822 purchasing it in 1830 remaining there when not at their house in Park Lane until their respective deaths. The mausoleum in which Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were laid to rest and the adjacent private synagogue they had built in the grounds still exist but the house itself was demolished in 1954.
According to the Tates records, J.M.W. Turner (1875-1851) apparently painted views of both the seaward and landward facing elevations of East Cliff Lodge in about 1797.
The sale, which was Matthew Bartons biggest sale to-date, also included Ceramics, Jewellery, Watches, Works of Art, and Objects of Vertu, from both Europe and Asia.