The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • London, England
  • c. 1740
  • Gold
  • Object size: 3.2 x 7.6 x 6.3 cm
    Weight: 127.6 g
  • Mark
    Mark
  • G71
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • The decoration on this box evokes water and the sea: perhaps appropriately enough, its shape was sometimes referred to as ‘bath-shaped’. The lid is chased with a depiction of Neptune commanding the winds and the waves, while the base is chased with a trophy emblematic of water. Around the sides are shells and volute decoration with several putti: two swimming, one holding a trident and one a rudder, and one playing with a dolphin.
    Although believed to be English, the design source for the cover decoration may be an illustration to Mme Dacier’s 1710 translation of Homer’s ‘Iliad’, depicting Neptune approaching the Trojan shores in order to help the Greeks. Other ornamental motifs recall the work of the French designer and silversmith, Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier.