The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • probably Russia, possibly France
  • 1800-1850
  • Gold and enamel, painted, incised and engraved
  • Object size: 3.8 x 8 x 6 cm
    Weight: 193.1 g
  • Maker's mark: Obscured, probably comprising the initial 'I', an illegible second letter and 'N' or possibly an 'M' with a scallop for difference. Parisian type imitating a Paris goldsmith's mark, at some time attributed to Rene-Jean Lemoyne, goldsmith registered in Paris 15 July 1775 until 1793
    Warden's mark: 'N' of the Maison Commune 1753-4 probably false
    Charge mark: A head of an ox, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe (1750-56) probably false
    Mark: A leaf, for the contremarque of the fermiers Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris (1756-62) probably false
    Discharge mark: A head of a hen, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe (1750-56) probably false
    Small guarantee mark: Eagle's head in profile, for 1837 to 1847 Struck twice
  • G17
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This box appears, on the surface, to be French in origin but a closer look at the marks and the decoration, particularly the enamel, may suggest otherwise. The scenes on the cover and base are taken from John Ingram’s engravings after François Boucher of ‘La bonne mère’, ‘L’école domestique’ and ‘La jardinière’, which were published in the early 1740s. However, the enamel colours are untypical of those used in Paris in the eighteenth century and are closer to those found on some German boxes. Moreover, the goldsmith’s mark does not appear to be that of any recorded Paris craftsman. It is clearly not that of René-Jean Lemoyne, who in any case did not register his mark until 1775, but it seems to be an imitation of it.
    Given that this box was in the possession of Prince Anatole Demidoff, one of the greatest collectors of the nineteenth century, a Russian origin dating from the first half of that century does not seem unlikely.