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
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This octagonal ‘carré a pans’ (box with canted corners) gold snuffbox, has been mounted ‘à cage’ (method of placing plaques into a gold frame of the box) with ten miniatures, painted in gouache on vellum under glass. The border around the cover is chased with leaves and ribbons, while around the wall of the lid is a frieze of chevrons (v shapes) intertwined with foliage. The walls of the box are divided by fluted pilasters. The interior of the box is gold but of two different standards.

    The goldsmith’s mark on the right-hand side of the bezel shows that this box passed through the workshop of Leferre between 1819 and 1838. However, there are two goldsmiths called Leferre or Le Lefèvre, (the spelling seems to be interchangeable), both were known for their production of snuffboxes in the eighteenth century taste. However, this box is by Jean-Louis Leferre.

    The miniatures depict outdoor scenes such as fairs, and games. There is some debate about whether the miniatures are by the Van Blarenberghes (probably Louis-Nicolas), or later copies after them.

    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.