The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Noël Hardivilliers (1704 - 1779) , Goldsmith
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770), Painter, scenes
    Le Sueur (active between: 1750 -1761), Enameller
  • Paris, France
  • 1756 - 1757
  • Gold and enamel
  • Object size: 3.5 x 6.1 x 5.3 cm
    Weight: 143.5 g
  • Maker's mark: Mark of Noel Hardivilliers, goldsmith registered in Paris, 4 June 1729 - 16 October 1771. Partly erased in the base
    Warden's mark: 'Q' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 20 July 1756 - 15 July 1757. Almost completely erased in the front wall
    Charge mark: A harrow, for the fermier Eloy Brichard, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1759. Almost completely erased in the front wall
    Discharge mark: A shell, fermier of Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
  • G20
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This oval gold snuffbox has been enamelled en plein (enamel applied directly onto the box) with six scenes or reserves, painted in opaque colours with interior scenes of domestic life. Each reserve is bordered by chased scrolls and a translucent green basse taille (translucent enamel on low relief chasing) enamel.
    The image on the cover is a domestic scene depicting a mother, sewing beside a baby in a cot, while some children at her feet, read or play with the baby. The image is after a drawing by Boucher, Le petit ménage. The scene on the base is of a young lady and a child building a house of cards is after Le Château de Cartes. Both these images had been engraved in the opposite sense by James-Gabriel Huquier and Jean-Michel Liotard, it is therefore possible that the enameller worked from drawings or sketches of them.
    The child in the scene on the back of the box has been taken from Ingram's engraving after Boucher La Crèmerie, and Pierre Soubeyran's engraving after Boucher's La belle Villageoise is the source for the child on the right hand side.
    It is possible that given the feminine domestic nature of the scenes of the box, that it could have been a wedding gift to a future bride to be.
    Snuffboxes played an important role in fashion and self-promotion, 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.