The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Possibly Jean Charles Simphorien Dubos (1719 - 1781) , Goldsmith
  • Possibly Jean Ducrollay (c. 1710 - 1787), Goldsmith
    After Jean Daullé (1703-1763), Engraver
    After Jaques Dumont, le Romain (1701 - 1781), Painter
  • Paris, France
  • 1760 - 1761
  • Four colour gold, chased, chiselled and engraved
  • Object size: 3.9 x 8.6 x 6.7 cm
    Weight: 201.7 g
  • Maker's mark: 'J C' and a 'D' below, and a heart Parisian type
    Warden's mark: 'v' of the Maison Commune 1760-61
    Charge mark: A harrow, for the fermier Eloy Brichard (1756-62)
    Discharge mark: A shell, for fermier Eloy Brichard (1756-62)
    Warranty mark: Eagle's head in profile, for 1838 to 1846
    Mark: Counter mark, an upright open hand, for tax official Jean-Jacques Prévost (1762-68)
    Label: Exhibition catalogue entry
  • G33
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This oval varicoloured gold box has been chased with six pastoral scenes, on a striated background, bordered by shells, scrolls and foliage. The interior of the box is gold.
    At least one of the rustic scenes decorating this box,that on the top, has an engraving as its source: one from 1739 by Jean Daullé (1703-1763) after Le joueur de musette by Jaques Dumont le Romain (1704-1781). Here the Savoyard puppeteer entertains two children by using his foot to make a pair of puppets dance on a board in time to the music he is playing on his bagpipes.
    Somewhat confusingly two goldsmiths used the same mark at the same time in Paris. The registered mark of Dubos, the maker of this box, included the initials ‘JCD’ and a heart, as did that of Jean-Charles Ducrollay, registered seven years later. However, it is unlikely that Ducrollay ever used his goldsmith’s mark since he worked in the celebrated workshop of his brother, Jean, and all boxes from this workshop appear to have been struck only with the marks ‘JD’ and a heart.

    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. Although they were used for snuff-taking, 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.