The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Henri-Joseph van Blarenberghe (1741 - 1826) , Painter , (miniature)
  • Pierre-François Drais, Goldsmith
  • Paris, France
  • 1781 - 1783, miniatures 1782
    1782 (gouache)
  • Gold, gouache on vellum, chased and painted
  • Object size: 3.2 x 8.6 x 6.4 cm
    Weight: 165.6 g
    Image size: 5.3 x 7.4 cm, miniature on top
    Image size: 5.3 x 7.4 cm, miniature on bottom
    Image size: 2 x 4.9 cm, miniatures on the front and back
    Image size: 2 x 4.5 cm, miniatures on sides
  • Maker's mark: for Pierre-François Drais.
    Date mark: Crowned 's' for 1781-2
    Date mark: Crowned 't' for 1782-3
    Mark: For fermier Henri Clavel 1781-3
    Signature: 'Van Blarenberghe, 1782'
    Warranty mark: A ram's head, for 1819 to 1838
    Discharge mark: A woman's head in profle
    Label: 'Chateau de / Meudon et ses / invirons / Louis XV et Madme. De / Pompadour / Vte Demidoff' in ink
  • G62
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This gold box contains six miniatures painted by Henri-Joseph van Blarenberghe, depicting the Château de Romainville and its gardens. The box and its miniatures were commissioned by the château’s owner, the marquis de Ségur, who became Minister of War to Louis XVI in 1780. Romainville’s gardens were redesigned in 1780 in the latest fashion. The ‘Anglo-Chinese’ type of landscaped garden became especially popular in France in the 1770s and 1780s. It was a studied imitation of nature in an English style, with carefully placed Roman temples, artificial lakes, Chinese pagodas and rolling hills. Indeed, it was through the depiction of the gardens that the château on the box could be identified in 1950, from Georges-Luis Le Rouge’s 'Les Jardins Anglo-Chinois' (Paris 1774-89), a compendium of gardens in this new style with illustrations and plans drawn by Le Rouge.
    The marquis de Ségur himself appears on the lid, where we see the château behind a village festival known as the rosière. This ceremony, during which a village girl, her virtue determined by the village priest and the seigneur, would be crowned with a wreath of roses and presented with her dowry, came to epitomize certain eighteenth-century ideas of natural virtue and pastoral idylls.

    This box is the only box in the Wallace Collection whose original patron is personally identified. In a social setting the box would have been viewed by all who wished to partake in snuff and was a perfect way for the marquis to be seen by his peers.