The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Probably Pierre-François Drais , Goldsmith
  • Probably J. de Gault, Painter, (miniatures)
  • Paris, France
  • 1774 - 1775
  • Gold, enamel and gouache, chased and engraved
  • Object size: 3.2 x 7 x 5.4 cm
    Weight: 140.4 g
  • Maker's mark: probably for Pierre-François Drais
    Warden's mark: 'L', for 1774-5
    Discharge mark: A monkey's head, for fermier Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-81)
    Charge mark: For fermier Julien Alaterre (1768-75)
    Charge mark: Half of crossed L's, for Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-81)
    Warranty mark: Two eagles
    Mark: Crossed L's, for fermier J.B. Fouache 1775-81
  • G53
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The painter of the miniatures, J-J de Gault, was a prolific painter in gouache who specialised in grisaille paintings à bas relief in imitation of cameos. Cameos were highly collectible items that were associated with the neo-classical style and were imitated extensively in decorative schemes, such as on the surfaces of this box.
    The miniatures depict classical mythological scenes. On the cover nymphs and putti are worshipping at an altar to the Three Graces, whilst the medallion on the base shows Pygmalion and Galatea. Other scenes depict putti cavorting in the guise of Bacchus or Silenus.
    The box, with its highly chased gold pilasters and edges and translucent green enamel, is typical of the work of Drais, and it is clear that his boxes were commercially successful as they were soon imitated in other centres of gold box production, such as Vienna.