A Meissen gold-mounted snuff box, circa 1745-50. Photo Bonhams

Of trefoil shape, finely painted in black monochrome with Watteauesque scenes, within three arched panels around the side below gilt scrolling foliage, trellis panels and flowers, above a moulded rim with black and gilt-striped border, the base with a similar scene within a moulded black-ground border reserved with scrollwork and flowers, the cover and inside cover with scenes after Watteau, the box interior gilt, 5.7cm wide; 4.5cm high (minor wear) - Estimate: £8,000 - 12,000, € 9,200 - 14,000, US$ 13,000 - 20,000 - Sold for £16,800

Provenance: Sir Alfred Chester Beatty Collection, sold by Sotheby's London, 3 December 1962, lot 120;
Alfred Joseph Collection, no. 1334

Literature: Beaucamp-Markowsky 1985, no. 68;
Beaucamp-Markowsky 1988, no. 20

Exhibited: Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 1972-2003;
London, Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, 2003-2008;
Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, The Bowes Museum, 2008-2010

The scene on the cover is based on an engraving by N.H. Tardieu (1674-1749) after the painting 'The Embarkation for Cythera' by Jean-Antoine Watteau of 1717, now in Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin.

Bonhams. The Helmut Joseph Collection of Important Snuff Boxes, 5 Jul 2011. London, New Bond Street www.bonhams.com