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
  • Hamelin (active between: 1754-1760), Enameller, (enamels)
  • Paris, France
  • 1759 - 1760
  • Gold and enamel, painted and chiselled
  • Object size: 3.5 x 6.7 x 5.1 cm
    Weight: 163.9 g
  • Maker's mark: 'J' and another initial, with a heart between them; second initial is 'D' on bezel outside at the right end Parisian type
    Warden's mark: 't' of the Maison Commune 1759-60
    Charge mark: A harrow, for the fermier Eloy Brichard (1756-62)
    Discharge mark: A shell, for Eloy Brichard (1756-62)
    Warranty mark: Eagle's head in profile, for 1838 to 1846
    Signature: 'Hamelin'
    Mark: Counter mark, an upright open hand, for the tax official Jean-Jacques Prévost (1762-68)
  • G32
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The six plaques mounted into this rectangular varicoloured gold snuffbox depict fruit and flowers. Each plaque has been framed with chased foliage and flowers in red and green gold on a matt ground. They have then been mounted “en cage” (the setting of panels into a cagework gold box frame) in gold chased with ovals and pellets and rosettes in the corners. The interior of the box is gold.
    The enamel plaque on the cover has been signed by the enameller Hamelin; enamel signed by him are quite rare. There are four other known boxes with enamel by Hamelin, one in the Taft Museum, Cincinnatti, the Gilbert Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the State Hermitage and one in a private collection. All are in the same style depicting flowers in baskets or tied with ribbons.
    The fact that the plaques have been set in gold frames is also unusual, it suggests that they were mounted into the gold box at a later date. Perhaps at the time of the countermark of Jean-Jaques Prévost, 1762-1768.
    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.
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