The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Style of Henri-Joseph van Blarenberghe (1741 - 1826) , miniatures
  • Style of Louis-Nicolas van Blarenberghe (1716 - 1794), miniatures
    Jean-Louis Leferre (active between: 1803-1822)
  • Paris, France
  • 1765 - 1768
  • Gold, gouache and vellum, painted, chased and chiselled
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7.6 x 5.9 cm
    Weight: 157.9 g
  • Warden's mark: Crowned 'B' or 'D' of the Maison Commune 1765-6 or 1767-8 Defaced partly
    Discharge mark: A head of a dog, for Jean-Jacques Prévost (1762-68)
    Inscription: A letter and 'I' or 'L' remains of a makers mark.
    Small guarantee mark: A ram's head in profile, for 1819 to 1838
    Mark: Three illegible marks
    Stamp: '526'
    Label: Exhibition catalogue entry
  • G36
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The box is marked by the nineteenth-century goldsmith Leferre, indicating that at some stage it passed through his workshop which was well known for its production of snuffboxes in the eighteenth-century taste, and many examples of which are to be found in public and private collections. However, it also bears marks indicating it had been made in Paris between 1765-68, and the standard of the gold of the carcass of the box makes it probable that most, if not all, of the cagework dates from the eighteenth century. It is possible that the miniatures were added by Leferre and the lesser quality of these compared with other works by van Blarenberghe have led some specialists to suggest that they are nineteenth-century works.
    The ten miniatures depict fairground scenes and show the humour and fun of rustic pleasures: the shooting fair, the mountebank who offers medicines and elixirs, games such as nine pins and pelting the goose, decorated windmills, and farm- and stable-yard scenes.
    Snuffboxes played an important role in fashion and self-promotion, in diplomacy and, in the 19th century, in collecting. Often they were used as a currently 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.