The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Plaques 'de tabatière'
  • Six Plaques Mounted in a Gold Snuff-box
  • Plaques 'de tabatière'
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Jean Ducrollay (c. 1710 - 1787), Goldsmith, snuff-box
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1757 - 1759
    1759 - 1760 (snuff-box)
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • a-b, Object size: 7.9 x 5.3 cm
    c-d, Object size: 7.9 x 2.7 cm
    e-f, Object size: 5.3 x 2.7 cm
  • C496
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • These six panels of Sèvres porcelain have been mounted into a rectangular gold box (see G31). The panels are painted in the famous blue céleste (sky blue) colour that the porcelain factory is known for. They have been gilt with an irregular diaper (diamond) pattern which surrounds six reserves, each one representing Music, Poetry, Theatre and Love.
    The cover and base both depict two armorini with a dove and arrows representing Love, and on the base two armorini, one with a Lyre and one with a Book, representing Music and Poetry. The sides are decorated with trophies representing Music, Poetry, the Theatre and History. The source for the two scenes of armorinis are after designs by Boucher. The image on the base is taken from “Deux amours avec emblems de la poésie” engraved by Giles Demarteau.
    The Sèvres factory made porcelain plaques that could be bought ready to be mounted into furniture or snuffboxes. “Plaques de tabatière” [Snuffbox plaques] first appear in the factory records in February 1754, and continued to be produced in large numbers until the late 1750’s. Generally the cost for six plaques was 360 livres, though they could range between 288 livres and 600 livres. Only three snuffboxes with blue celeste ground were sold at Sèvres. It is known that Mme Duvaux, wife of the luxury dealer Lazare Duvaux bought two, and it is possible that one of these went into the construction of this box.
    The box was a gift from Louis XV to the duchesse de Castropignano, lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Spain.