THE COLLECTION
Snuff box
  • Date: c. 1824
  • Medium: Gold, lacquer, enamel, vellum and gouache, chased and painted
  • Object size: 3.5 x 8 x 5.8 cm
  • Weight: 138.9 g
  • Weight: 133.6 g, without miniature, glass and frame
  • Inv: G7
  • Location: Not on display
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Description
Provenance
Marks/Inscriptions
Further Reading
  • The Japanese lacquer with which this box is decorated has been identified as dating from the second half of the seventeenth century. The gold cagework bears what appear to be spurious hallmarks, including that of an unidentified goldsmith which is also found on at least three other known snuffboxes which also bear spurious hallmarks. This suggests that a group of boxes was made in the nineteenth century purporting to be by a hitherto unknown Parisian goldsmith. Inside the lid is a miniature depicting Princess Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, Dauphine of France (1731-67) which appears to be a copy of a lost portrait by Maurice-Quentin de la Tour (1704-88) of 1747/8. It seems likely that the box was made as a vehicle for an earlier miniature, a fashionable conceit in the early nineteenth century.
    The presence of a card behind the miniature inscribed ‘A Monsieur Vachette/Joaillier-Bijoutier is intriguing. Adrien-Jean-Maximilien Vachette, to whom it refers, was a well-respected Parisian goldsmith (active 1779-1839). He may have added the miniature to an existing box, or the box may have been made by one of his contemporaries, which seems more likely.