The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Jean Frémin (active between: 1738-1786) , Goldsmith
  • After Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686 - 1755), scenes
    After Nicolas Desportes the Younger (1718 - 1787), scenes possibly
  • Paris, France
  • 1757 - 1758
  • Gold
  • Object size: 4.2 x 8.9 x 6.2 cm
    Weight: 216.1 g
  • Maker's mark: 'J F' above an eagle's head in profile, mark of Jean Fremin, goldsmith registered in Paris, 24 September 1738 - 1786.
    Warden's mark: 'R' of the Maison Commune mark for gold, Paris, 16 July 1757 - 20 July 1758.
    Charge mark: A harrow, for the fermier Eloy Brichard, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1759.
    Discharge mark: A shell, for the fermier Eloy Brichard and Etienne Somfoye, Paris, 1 October 1756 - 1 October 1762.
  • G25
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Perhaps the type of box known as a ‘boïte de chasse’ (hunting box), this would have been most appropriate for use following a day’s hunting, which was a favoured past-time of many of the aristocracy and particularly of Louis XV. The scenes on the cover and sides depict hunting dogs or game in various ways and are closely related to paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) and possibly Alexandre-François Desportes (1661-1743). On the top three hounds attack a fox, a scene taken from Oudry’s ‘Vanquished Fox’, a painting originally commissioned for the Guard Room at the château of Chantilly and later engraved. The scene on the left-hand side is derived from Oudry’s rendering of a stag hunt in his illustration of a fable of La Fontaine, while that on the front from a boar hunt by him. Other dogs on the box appear to derive ultimately from paintings by Desportes of hunting dogs from the royal kennels.
    The use of different coloured golds increases the three-dimensional effect of the scenes, the colours being made of alloys whereby silver is added to make a white or green gold, copper to make a pink or red gold and iron to make a yellow gold.

    Snuffboxes played an important role in fashion and self-promotion, diplomacy and, in the 19th century, in collecting. Often they were used as a currency for their monetary values and the status they could embody. Their practical purpose was often secondary – they were highly valued as art objects in their own right. Gold boxes were a barometer of the taste of the time and exemplify the skills of not only goldsmiths, but also enamellers, lapidaries and miniature painters.