The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Louis Roucel (+1787) , Goldsmith
  • After Jean-Baptiste Pater (1695 - 1736), (miniatures)
  • Paris, France
  • 1777 - 1779
  • Gold and gouache on vellum, chased
  • Object size: 3.2 x 7.3 x 5.8 cm
    Weight: 134 g
  • Maker's mark: 'L.R.'
    Warden's mark: Crowned 'P' of 1778-9
    Warden's mark: Crowned 'O' of 1777-8
    Discharge mark: A monkey, for fermier Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-81)
    Mark: 'Roucel, orfe du Roy à Paris' Engraved
    Label: 'Sold. / 22-2-72' Inscribed in ink
    Charge mark: For fermier Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-81)
    Warranty mark: A ram's head, for 1819 to 1838
    Warranty mark: An eagle's head, for 1838 onwards
    Mark: Crossed hands
  • G57
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • In addition to the goldsmith’s mark for Louis Roucel stamped on this box, there is also an inscribed signature, ‘Roucel Orfe du Roi A Paris’ on the bezel. This is likely to have been one of the reasons why it has such an illustrious provenance; the inscription describing Roucel as the royal goldsmith undoubtedly accounted for his popularity amongst collectors in both the late eighteenth and the nineteenth century. The Empress Eugénie of France had a considerable collection of gold boxes, some of which she brought to England with her when she was sent into exile. The dealer Frederick Davis of Pall Mall sold this and five other boxes from her collection to Sir Richard Wallace in 1872, no doubt helping her to raise money. Sir Richard paid 500 guineas for it.
    The miniatures are after engravings of paintings by Jean-Baptiste Pater, for example ‘Les amants heureux’ (The Happy Lovers) on the cover. Such paintings by Pater and his contemporaries, known as Fêtes Galantes and inspired by the works of Antoine Watteau, had become fashionable from the 1720s and their continuing popularity is evidenced by copies such as these on decorative art fifty years later.