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
  • Le Sueur (active between: 1750 -1761), Enameller
    After Carle Vanloo (1705 - 1765), scenes
  • Paris, France
  • 1757 - 1758
  • Gold and enamel
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7 x 5.1 cm
    Weight: 201.3 g
  • Maker's mark: 'N H' separated by a cock, mark of Noel Hardivilliers, goldsmith registered in Paris, 4 June 1729 - 16 October 1771.
    Warden's mark: 'R' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 16 July 1757 - 20 July 1758.
    Charge mark: A harrow, for the fermier Eloy Brichard, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1759.
    Discharge mark: A shell, decharge for gold of the fermiers for Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1759.
    Warranty mark: A ram's head, the French provincial restricted warranty mark (petite garantie) for gold, 19 June 1798 - 31 August 1809.
    Warranty mark: A cock's head in profile, The restricted warranty mark (petite garantie) for gold, Paris, 16 August 1819 - 9 May 1838.
  • G24
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This rectangular gold snuffbox has been enamelled en plein (enamel applied directly onto the gold) in opaque colours with six reserves or scenes of children dressed as adults depicting the Arts and Sciences. Each reserve is surrounded by scrolls strapwork, and translucent green enamel.
    The images on the cover (music), base (painting), front (architecture) and back (sculpture) have been identified as being after the overdoors painted by Carle van Loo for the Salon de Compagnie of Madame de Pompadour's château at Bellevue. The paintings were exhibited at the Salon of 1753 and engraved by Etienne Fessard.
    On the panel that depicts music shows a childlike representation of Madame de Pompadour at the keyboard, and her daughter, Alexandrine is depicted as the model for the scene depicting painting. In the scene architecture on the front, the boys are holding up an elevation of the château at Bellevue, and at the back in sculpture, Louis XV's bust is being carved.
    The inclusion of Alexandrine, and the sculpture of Louis XV’s bust, as well as other details of the château at Bellevue suggest that the box may have had a close connection with Madame de Pompadour. It probably belonged to her brother, the marquis de Marigny, who may have inherited it on her death in 1764.
    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 enamelers, lapidaries and miniature painters.