The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Paul Robert (1720-1779) , Goldsmith
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770), scenes
  • Paris, France
  • 1759 - 1760
  • Gold and enamel
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7 x 5.1 cm
    Weight: 162.3 g
  • Maker's mark: 'P R' and between them a cinquefoil slipped. Mark of Paul Robert, goldsmith registered in Paris, 4 August 1747 until 24 August 1779. Mark almost totally erased in the lid and base.
    Warden's mark: 't' of the Maison Commune. The wardens mark for gold, Paris, 13 July 1759 - 11 July 1760.
    Charge mark: A harrow, the charge for the fermiers Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye , Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
    Discharge mark: A shell, the decharge for gold works of the fermiers Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
    Mark: Inscribed 'XI'
  • G30
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This rectangular varicoloured gold snuffbox has six reserves which have been enamelled “en plein” (enamel applied directly onto the gold) with domestic scenes. Each reserve is bordered by scrolls, foliage and shells in green, yellow and white gold on a striated background. The interior of the box is gold.

    The enameller has taken print sources, mainly by Boucher and translated from outdoor scenes into rustic interior scenes. The source for the cover is “Ce Pasteur amoureux chante sur sa musette”, and that on the base is “Ne plaignons point le sort de ces bergers”. Both are after engravings of “Les Amours Pastorales” by Claude Duflos after Boucher, printed in 1742. The scene on the front of the box was taken from “Le Sommeil interrompu”. This painting was made in 1750 and was in Madame de Pompadour’s collection at the Château de Bellevue.

    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.