Thursday 22 June 2023

The Martha Vandewall Gold Snuffbox.

 The Martha Vandewall Gold Snuffbox.

(Post in preparation).

Sotheby's London Lot 3, 25 May 2023.

With the miniature portrait by Gervase Spencer (d.1763).

Sotheby's description.

Of upright cartouche form, the lid inset with a panel of banded creamy grey agate within pierced and chased rocaille decorations, reeded gold rims and bow-shaped thumbpiece, the shaped sides also chased with rocaille ornament and flowers, the interior of the lid set with an enamel miniature of Mrs Vandewall, by Gervase Spencer, signed and dated: G. S 1757, wearing an ermine-trimmed blue dress, lace collar and baroque pearl earrings.

In a rose gold frame and plaited light brown hair border, the interior of the base later inscribed: Martha / Vandewall / Apl 1798, unmarked.

There are two possible Martha Vandewalls.

1. Daughter of Quaker merchant Thomas Goldney II - third wife of Nehemiah Champion m. 1742.

She was the bereaved wife of John Vandewall III d. 1731 (father of Joseph and Samuel Vandewall) -


1728 - John Vandewall marries his third wife at the Friends Meeting House Bristol, Martha Goldney daughter of Thomas Goldney the elder, of Clifton, Bristol.

1731 – 5 January - John Vandewall III dies of a fever and is buried at the Friends Burial Ground at Whitechapel Mount, his executors are his brother in law Thomas Gouldney II of Bristol, maker of the famous grotto at Clifton, Bristol, his father in law from his second wife Joseph Moore and the Apothecary and amateur sculptor Silvanus Bevan.

2. Martha Vandewall, the daughter of Jonathan and Martha Barrow, was born in 1711 into a Quaker family. She first married Harris Neate, a West Indies merchant, in 1733. 

Following the death of Harris Neate, she married the wealthy merchant and prominent Quaker, Samuel Vandewall, in 1744.

On balance I believe this portrait to be that of Martha Goldney /Vandewall / Champion.

The gold box unmarked.

Length 5.7 cms.


Miniature of Samuel Vandewall by Gervase Spencer (c.1715 - 63).

Sold Sotheby's Lot 1,  2003.

Signed with the initials of Gervase Spencer.


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