The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Jean Moynat (active between: 1745-1761) , Goldsmith
  • After Sébastien Le Clerc (1637 - 1714)
  • Paris, France
  • 1752 - 1754
  • Gold with diamonds in silver settings.
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7 x 5 cm
    Weight: 172.5 g
  • Maker's mark: Includes 'J M' under a five pointed star, mark of Jean Moynat, Paris, 5 October 1745 until before 12 December 1761. Parisian type
    Warden's mark: 'M' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 15 July 1752 - 10 July 1753.
    Warden's mark: 'N' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 11 July 1753 - 19 July 1754.
    Charge mark: A head of an ox, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe, Paris, 1 October 1750 - 1 October 1756.
    Mark: illegible mark.
    Discharge mark: A head of a hen, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe, Paris, 1 October 1750 - 1 October 1756.
    Import mark: The French import mark for gold, 10 May 1838 - 1 September 1864.
    Tax mark: The tax mark for gold of at least 20 carat, Cracow, 1806-07. Struck twice
  • G16
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This rectangular gold snuffbox is chased on the front with a classical architectural ruin, with a shepherd guarding sheep whilst playing the flute. The cover and thumbpiece are encrusted with diamonds in silver settings. The base and front show scenes of putti making music whilst the back, left and right hand walls show musical trophies on a matted ground.

    The diamonds on this box seem to have been added at two different dates after the box was made. Those used to enhance the architectural setting have two comparison boxes, one in the Rosalind and Arthur Gilbert Collection at the V&A which has the makers letter PAG, which may have been used by Pierre Aldebert Griot in Berlin dating to 1768. The other in the Victoria and Albert’s Collection also thought to be probably German, Berlin 1770. The thumbpiece on this box is made of flowers and leaves, this may have been added around 1800, and set in possibly Germany or Poland. There is a 19th century Cracow mark that shows the box was in the city at in 1806-1807 and a French import mark shows it had been outside France until at least after 1838 and before 1864 at the latest.

    Snuffboxes played an important role in fashion and self-promotion, in diplomacy and, in the 19th century, in collecting. Often they were used as a currency for their monetary values and the status they could embody. Their practical purpose was often secondary – they were highly valued as art objects in their own right. Gold boxes were a barometer of the taste of the time and exemplify the skills of not only goldsmiths, but also enamellers, lapidaries and miniature painters.