Gold, Jasper and Carnelian: Johann Christian Neuber at the Saxon Court

Date Published :
May 2012
Publisher :
Paul Holberton Publishing
Editor :
Alexis Kugel
Illustration :
568 color illustrations
No associated books available.


The goldsmith and mineralogist Johann Christian Neuber (1736–1808) was one of the greatest masters of the gold objet – gold boxes, watch cases, chatelaines, etc. – which he in particular decorated to splendid effect with semiprecious stones – agate, jasper, carnelian and a host of others. In 1769 he became director of the Grünes Gewölbe, the magnificent State Treasury in Dresden, and in 1775 court jeweler to the court of Saxony. Neuber’s work features enchanting landscapes, intricate floral designs and complex geometric patterns made out of tiny cut stones, incorporating also Meissen porcelain plaques, cameos and miniatures. These one-of-a-kind objects are treasured in public and private collections all over the world today, but have never been brought together.

This book is the first comprehensive introduction to this master craftsman’s oeuvre, presenting boxes and other decorative objects from the Grünes Gewölbe, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and public and private collections in Germany, France and New York. One of its highlights is the ‘Breteuil Table’, still owned by the family for which is was made as a diplomatic gift nearly 250 years ago. It accompanies a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, at the Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden, March–May 2012; at the Frick Collection, New York, May–August; at the Galerie J. Kugel, Paris, Autumn 2012.

Beautiful photographs of all Neuber’s creations adorn this extraordinary book – well over 500 in number. The context and history of the growing interest in mineralogy and its celebration in these works of art are fully investigated. Its distinguished authors include Dr Jutta Kappel, of the Grünes Gewölbe; the specialists Sophie Mouquin and Philippe Poindront; the Marquis de Breteuil, Henri-François Le Tonnelier; and the editor of the volume, Alexis Kugel, of the famous Parisian gallery.

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