A group of small boxes, mostly made in Italy from Italian hardstones, such as Baltic amber, moss agate.

These boxes give a fascinating insight into the 9th Earl’s passion for hardstones and specimen marbles – as well as his meticulous record-keeping. Thus one holds fragments of lava from the slopes of Vesuvius, another bears a label in 9th Earl’s hand inscribed: ‘Brought from Naples 1763‘, and also contains a note in the same hand: ‘stones from Sorrento in Italy‘ There are four small, blue semi-precious stones wrapped within it. One box contains an example of fossilised wood. The most amusing is certainly the box bearing a small label inscribed: ‘This snuff box is made of Lava from the Island of Iskia near Naples’; also containing three ‘Pieces of Pompey’s Pillar – A present from Capt. Bell of Lincolnshire, January 20th 1767 – He received them from Major Budgard, who had them from the Captain of the ship, who received them from the Sailors who drank a bowl of punch on the top of the Pillar‘.

 

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