The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Louis-Philippe Demay (active between: 1758-1772) , Goldsmith
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770), scenes
  • Paris, France
  • 1764 - 1765
  • Gold and enamel, chiselled, chased and engraved
  • Object size: 3.9 x 8.9 x 6.3 cm
    Weight: 203.8 g
  • Maker's mark: Defaced partly
    Maker's mark: Includes 'L', 'P' and 'D' between them below, and bushy-top tree Parisian type
    Warden's mark: 'A' of the Maison Commune 1764-5
    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)
    Discharge mark: A head of a boar, for Julien Alaterre (1768-75)
    Inscription: 'D69', '84. 0. 0. / 5' Scratched
    Small guarantee mark: square with shells for 1838 to 1847
    Stamp: '325'
    Small guarantee mark: Eagle's head in profile, for 1838 to 1847
    Mark: Illegible
    Label: Exhibition catalogue entry
  • G39
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Both scenes of Venus on the lid and base are taken from paintings by François Boucher (1703-1770) commissioned by Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764) for herself. On the top is L’Amour désarmé where Cupid implores Venus to return his bow and arrow, and on the bottom the Toilette de Vénus which, appropriately, Mme de Pompadour hung in her bathroom at the château of Bellevue in 1751. The latter painting was not even available in engraved form when this box was made, suggesting that either she, before her death in 1764, or her brother on inheriting the two paintings, commissioned this box from Demay. Both the enamels are the same orientation as the paintings from which they are taken, which suggests that the anonymous enameller had access to the original paintings.
    The reserves on the walls derive from prints after Boucher; the front and back are taken from “La Terre” (front) and “L'air” (back) both engraved by Jean Daullé. On the left is “La musique” after an engraving by L.-F. de la Rue.

    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.