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Hans Mella (active c. 1650)

Box 1650-60

RCIN 4103

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Miniature casket/box of gilt brass framed in silver on four silver-gilt ball feet, engraved throughout with mythological figures. The engravings on this casket represent different scenes from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The figures on the top of the box are Apollo and the princess Coronis, who bore Apollo's child. When Coronis left Apollo, the god seized the child and put it into the care of a centaur, Chiron, who may be seen on the front of the casket. Caskets of this type are often called 'Michael Mann boxes' as many of them bear the name of this master metalworker from Nuremberg. Mann worked with a range of metals including iron and gilt brass, but specialised in these small caskets, usually with intricate locking mechanisms. The decorative engravings were usually based on contemporary prints. Hans Mella, whose name appears on this box, seems to have worked in a very similar style to Mann.