The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Pierre Cerneau (active between: 1762-1783) , Goldsmith
  • After Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 - 1805), (miniatures)
  • Paris, France
  • 1763 - 1764
  • Gold and enamel, painted, chiselled, chased and engraved
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7 x 5.1 cm
    Weight: 148.3 g
  • Maker's mark: semi-obscured with 'P' as first letter and a cockle shell for Pierre Cerneau.
    Maker's mark: Obscured with 'P' as first letter, and a cockle shell Parisian type
    Warden's mark: 'Z' of the Maison Commune 1763-4
    Charge mark: Two bay leaf branches, for sous-fermier Jean-Jacques Prévost (1762-68)
    Discharge mark: A head of a dog, for Jean-Jacques Prévost (1762-68)
    Inscription: 'Souvenir du Aout 1842' Engraved
    Label: Exhibition catalogue entry
  • G38
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This oval varicoloured gold snuffbox, has been enamelled “en plein” (enamel applied directly to the box) with six reserves after Jean-Baptiste Greuze of interior domestic scenes. The reserves are framed by a Greek key border divided by paterae (an oval or circular decoration), with an outer border of laurels of green gold, tied with ribbons in white gold. The walls are divided by four pilasters with scrolling capitals between swags of foliage. The interior of the box is gold.

    This box (as with G37) shows a transition in style between the Rococo themes of the reserves by Boucher, the neoclassical style of Greuze and the goldsmith's decoration. The source of the scene on the cover is taken from an engraving by L. Cars of “La trompette”; that on the front is “La Maman”; and that on the back is “La marchande de marrons” all after Greuze. The scene on the right hand side is after François Boucher's “La petite fermière” engraved by Duflos.

    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.