The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Jean Georges (+1765) , Goldsmith
  • Paris, France
  • 1757 - 1758
  • Gold
  • Object size: 4.2 x 8 x 6 cm
    Weight: 259.9 g, with snuff
  • Maker's mark: 'J' and another illegible letter, with a five-pointed star between them, mark of Jean George, goldsmith registered in Paris, 24 January 1752 - 8 June 1765.
    Charge mark: A harrow, for the fermier Eloy Brichard, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1759.
    Warden's mark: 'R' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 16 July 1757 - 20 July 1758.
    Stamp: Numbered '671'
    Discharge mark: A small cow, The decharge mark for gold exported from France, Paris, probably from 1 September 1733 - 18 November 1774.
    Inscription: 'GEORGE A. PARIS'
  • G27
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The scenes of children playing at soldiers is a reminder that France was at the height of the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) when this box was made. Here the children rise at dawn (as indicated by the golden rays of sun forming the background), emerge from their tent, put on their armour and prepare for battle. A similar scene to that on the cover occurs on another box in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York also by Jean George, presumably suggesting that there was a common print source for the design, or that the same man is repsonsible for the chasing. This rectangular varicoloured gold snuffbox chased with six scenes of children
    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.