The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Jean Ducrollay (c. 1710 - 1787) , Goldsmith
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770), scenes
  • Paris, France
  • 1759 - 1760 (snuff box)
    c. 1757-1759 (plaques)
  • Gold and Sèvres porcelain.
  • Object size: 4.5 x 8.5 x 6.3 cm
    Weight: 242 g
  • Maker's mark: Includes 'JD' and a heart. Mark of Jean Ducrollay, goldsmith registered in Paris, 26 July 1734 until after 12 December 1761, and later recorded as a negociant until 1771.
    Warden's mark: 't' of the wardens Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 13 July 1759 - 11 July 1760.
    Charge mark: A harrow, the charge mark for gold for the fermiers Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
    Discharge mark: A shell, the decharge mark for gold for the fermiers Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
    Inscription: Engraved 'No. 4'
    Label: 'Tabatière Sèvres / No.1 fond / blue / Turquoise / Medaillon Boucher' Written on a piece of paper
  • G31
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Six panels of Sèvres porcelain have been mounted into this rectangular gold box. The panels are painted in the famous blue céleste (sky blue) colour that the porcelain factory is known for. They have been gilt with an irregular diaper (diamond) pattern which surround six reserves each one representing Music, Poetry, Theatre and Love. The gold frame is decorated with a chased Greek key pattern with rosettes at the corners. The interior of the box is gold.
    The cover and base both depict two armorini with a dove and arrows representing Love, and on the base two armorini, one with a Lyre and one with a Book representing Music and Poetry. The sides are decorated with trophies representing Music, Poetry, the Theatre and History. The source for the two scenes of armorinis are after designs by Boucher. The image on the base is taken from “Deux amours avec emblems de la poésie” engraved by Giles Demarteau.The design for the gold decoration is in the Ducrollay, Drais and Ouzille design book in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
    The Sèvres factory made porcelain plaques that could be bought ready to be mounted into furniture or snuffboxes. “Plaques de tabatière” [Snuffbox plaques] first appear in the factory records in February 1754, and continued to be produced in large numbers until the late 1750’s. Generally the cost for six plaques was 360 livres, though they could range between 288 livres and 600 livres. Only three snuffboxes with blue celeste ground were sold at Sèvres. It is known that Mme Duvaux, wife of the dealer Lazare Duvaux bought two, and it is possible that one of these went into the construction of this box.
    This box was a gift from Louis XV to the duchesse de Castropignano, lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Spain.
    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.