An excellent quality antique sterling silver snuff box of rectangular form with cushion sides. The top has a cast silver border with crisp vine leaf decoration and centre engraved with a street scene (possibly University College, Oxford). The base is engine turned. The interior has the original bright gilding. Top measures 9×6 cms. Height 2.2 cms. Weight 159 grams, 5.1 troy ounces. Birmingham 1849. Maker Nathaniel Mills.
Biography – Nathaniel Mills I (1746–1843) was one of the most prolific Birmingham box makers of the period specialising in high quality castle-top silver vinaigrettes, snuff boxes and visiting card cases engraved with British landmarks. On his demise, the family enterprise was carried on by his sons Nathaniel II, William and Thomas, who adopted new techniques such as engine-turning, stamping and casting. Most of the collectibles were made between 1840 and 1853. William died late in 1853 and though there was a third Nathaniel Mills (1810–1873), he was neither a silversmith or involved in the family business.