The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Possibly René-Jean Lemoyne (active between: c. 1765 - 1793) , Goldsmith
  • Possibly J.L. Morel, Goldsmith
  • Paris, France
  • 1775 - 1776 and probably partly nineteenth century
  • Gold, lacquer and mother-of-pearl, chased
  • Object size: 3.2 x 7.3 x 5.3 cm
    Weight: 139.6 g
  • Maker's mark: 'RL / M'
    Warden's mark: Crowned 'M', for 1775-6
    Charge mark: For fermier Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-81)
    Discharge mark: A monkey's head, for fermier Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-81)
  • G55
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Abalone-shell boxes are occasionally seen engraved and decorated with gold pins or cartouches, but this lacquered example is more unusual. The chinoiseries scenes are created from a mixture of resins, varnish and gold powder showing, on the top, a winsome Chinese man sitting under a tree with his broomstick and gaggle of geese.
    The very low gold standard for this box gives cause for concern as to the date of its mounts.Therefore it is probable that this box was reconstructed in the nineteenth century, using some or all of the gold cagework and at least the gold front panel of an existing box, but that the shell and lacquer panels did not originally form part of its decoration. The mother-of-pearl and lacquer panels would appear to be European imitations of Oriental lacquer, but there is no reason to suppose that they are not mid eighteenth-century. It may be that they are rare examples of Vernis Martin.