The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Paris, France
  • 1800-1870
    19th century (later additions)
  • Gold and enamel, painted, chiselled and engraved
  • Object size: 4.2 x 8 x 6 cm
    Weight: 218.5 g
  • Maker's mark: Includes 'PE' or 'PB' / 'B' and a five pointed star 'B' below and between letters, defaced
    Warden's mark: Top edge of a crown, of the Maison Commune
    Warden's mark: 'K' of the Maison Commune 1750-1751
    Charge mark: A head of an ox, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe (1750-56)
    Discharge mark: A head of a hen, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe (1750-56)
    Inscription: '392' Scratched
  • G13
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Notwithstanding the charm of the scenes on this box, it is clear that the gold cagework of the box and the engraved panels, enamelled in translucent blue, are not stylistically compatible, with the cagework being in a strict Neoclassical taste whilst the panels display a Rococo spirit rather in the manner of Boucher. Moreover, the marks on the box appear to imitate French marks that would date the box to 1751-2, but the Neoclassical decoration of the enamel borders would appear to be improbably early for that date. The maker’s mark is in imitation of that used by Pierre-Etienne Buron (fl. 1735-after 1766) and it is possible that the box was made in Paris in the early nineteenth century when the pre-Revolutionary system of marking gold was still relatively fresh in the minds of many goldsmiths. The possibility of a Russian provenance, where there was a plentiful supply of gold boxes with Paris marks to copy from, should not be excluded.
    The panels depict figures in landscapes: for example, on the cover two shepherdesses and a shepherd are entertained by another playing a flute, while on the base a shepherd flirts with a shepherdess whilst another looks on in the background.