English, probably Birmingham
about 1755–60

Object Place: Europe, England


8.3 x 21 cm (3 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Enameled copper with polychrome decoration; metal mounts with traces of gilding

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)





The rectangular box has a domed cover decorated with a polychrome pastoral scene. The scene shows several shepherds engaged in various pursuits, framed on the left by trees and on the right by a pedestal supporting a covered urn next to a partially ruined wall. In the foreground, in front of the pedestal and wall, an elegantly dressed couple converse. The man is seated on what may be a fallen pedestal, which supports a large basket and a cloth. To the couple’s left are two cows. Behind the cows, in the center of the scene, a woman wearing a full-length dress sits on the ground in front of a boy. In front of them and to their sides are two goats, two cows, and six sheep. In the left foreground a shepherd leans on a cow. In front of him and to his right are four sheep, a goat, and a donkey laden with draped baskets. In the left background a man riding a donkey and another walking behind a donkey move toward a small body of water, accompanied by a dog and a cow. On the far shore is a small tower and beyond it another body of water bordered by jagged cliffs, near which is a sailboat. To the right of the water are numerous trees and bushes, which serve as a backdrop for the central scene. To the right stand the ruins of an overgrown classical portico, and beyond is a building whose walls are surmounted by a balustrade. In the sky are billowing clouds and numerous birds. The back, front, and sides of the box are decorated with asymmetrically arranged floral bouquets on a white ground. The larger bouquets at the center are tied with bowed ribbons. The bottom features small floral sprays around a large or purple flower, probably an iris, with three green leaves and a blue bowed ribbon. The interior of the box is enameled in white. The gilt-metal mounts are horizontally ribbed, and the thumbpiece is scalloped and ridged.


By 1956, Rita and Frits Markus; 1982, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus