The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Jean Frémin (active between: 1738-1786) , Goldsmith
  • After Alexandre-François Desportes (1661 - 1743), scenes
  • Paris, France
  • 1756 - 1757
  • Gold
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7 x 5 cm
    Weight: 150.4 g
  • Maker's mark: 'J F' over an eagle's head seen in profile. Mark of Jean Fremin, goldsmith registered in Paris, 24 September 1738 - 1786. Almost completely erased in the right-hand wall
    Warden's mark: 'Q' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 20 July 1756 - 15 July 1757. Almost completely erased in the right-hand wall
    Charge mark: A head of an ox, for the sous-fermier Julien Berthe, Paris, 1 October 1750-51 - October 1756. Almost completely erased in the right-hand wall
    Discharge mark: A shell, for the fermier Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
    Mark: The French contingent mark for gold and silver on the market 'by chance' (literally par hazard) but not denoting any standard, 19 June 1798 - 31 August 1809.
  • G22
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This rectangular Tabatière plaine (snuffbox whose body is made of solid gold) is chased with six reserves or scenes in red, white and yellow gold surrounded by scrolls, foliage and flowers, on a background of a chased sunburst. On the cover, base and front are scenes of hunting dogs chasing birds. The back depicts a pannier, hoe and shovel, on the right and left sides are scenes of a bird and fruit. The interior of the box is gold.
    Though no exact source for the images has been found, the hunting scenes are probably derived from paintings by Alexandre-François Desportes, especially the dog on the base which is very close to a portrait by Desportes of Louis XIV's favourite hunting dog, Tane.
    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.