A very rare George IV Andromeda Snuff Box made in Birmingham in 1826 by John Bettridge.

A very rare George IV Andromeda Snuff Box made in Birmingham in 1826 by John Bettridge.



This very rare Snuff Box has a shaped escutcheon form with plain sides and base.  The cover, however, displays a raised die struck scene depicting Andromeda and Perseus, a very rare subject for a Snuff Box.  Andromeda, in Greek mythology, was the beautiful daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiope of Joppa in Palestine (called Ethiopia), Cassiope offended the Nereids by boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful than any of them, so in revenge Poseidon sent a sea monster to devastate Cepheus' Kingdom.  Since only Andromeda's sacrifice would appease the Gods, she was chained to a rock and left to be devoured by the monster.  Perseus flew by on the winged horse Pegasus, fell in love with Andromeda, and asked Cepheus for her hand.  Cepheus agreed, and Perseus slew the monster.  At their wedding feast, however, Andromeda's uncle, Phineus, to whom she had originally been promised, tried to claim her.  Perseus turned him to stone with Medusa's head.  Andromeda bore Perseus six sons and a daughter.

The cover depicts Andromeda being rescued by Perseus, with cupid at her feet, symbolising love.  The scene is surrounded by a beautiful foliate scroll and blue bell border interspersed with running dogs, exotic birds, dolphins and a seascape with mountains in the background.  The scene is beautifully detailed.  The interior displays exceptional gilding and is very well marked.  The box also has an unusual closing mechanism which snaps shut and cannot be opened unless the release catch is pushed in on the front.  This is a very practical catch to stop the box accidentally opening and spilling out the snuff, however it is rarely seen.  The box is in excellent condition, however there is some wear to the faces of Andromeda and Perseus, however we felt this could be excused with such a rare subject and design of box.  Snuff Boxes by John Bettridge are rare, as he specialised more in the production of Vinaigrettes and Caddy Spoons.

Length: 3.3 inches, 8.25 cm.

Width: 2.35 inches, 5.88 cm.

Depth: 0.75 inches, 1.88 cm.