The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • After Charles-Antoine Coypel (1694 - 1752), (enamels)
    After Louis Silvestre (1675 - 1760), (enamel, lid)
  • Berlin, Germany
  • c. 1750-55
  • Gold, diamonds and enamel, engraved
  • Object size: 4.2 x 8.5 x 6.4 cm
    Weight: 391.1 g
  • G81
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This magnificent and very showy box depicts scenes from the late sixteenth-century poem ‘Gerusalemme Liberata’ by Torquato Tasso, which tells a romanticised version of the First Crusade in which the great Christian knight, Rinaldo is seduced by the witch Armida. In eighteenth-century France the poem experienced a revival in popularity and formed the basis for several successful operas; various scenes were also painted and engraved. The enamels here may be taken from paintings by Charles-Antoine Coypel (1694-1752), and from engravings by François Joullain after Coypel and Nicolas Château after Louis de Silvestre (1675-1760). The opera ‘L’Armide’ by Carl Heinrich Graun was first performed in Berlin in 1751, which may have been the source of inspiration for this snuffbox. Certainly the idea of a proscenium arch behind which each scene is represented suggests a theatrical source.
    The enamelling has been attributed to Isaak Jacob Clauce, the son of a goldsmith from Metz who trained in Augsburg before moving to Meissen and then Berlin. He appears to have brought prints with him to Berlin from France. The prolific use of diamonds underlines the Berlin provenance of the box.