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
  • 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
  • The decorative panels of this box have been made from European lacquer that has been applied to mother-of-pearl, in imitation of Oriental lacquer. It may be that they are rare examples of vernis Martin, a European lacquer produced by the Martin brothers in Paris under a royal warrant from 1744. The brothers are known to have made snuffboxes, and a contemporary source stated that the Martin lacquer was encrusted with mother-of-pearl. The chinoiserie scenes are created from a mixture of resins, varnish and gold powder showing, on the lid, a winsome Chinese man sitting under a tree with his broomstick and gaggle of geese and, around the walls, flowers and foliage.
    The very low gold standard for this box (19.5 carat instead of the standard 20.25 carat) and the large number of base metal pins securing it, suggest the box has been the subject of some alteration or repair. It is probable that the box was actually reconstructed in the nineteenth century, using some or all of the eighteenth-century gold work and adding the shell and lacquer panels.