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Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Jean Ducrollay (c. 1710 - 1787) , Goldsmith
  • Le Sueur (active between: 1750 -1761), Enameller, (one panel)
  • Paris, France
  • Date: 1754 - 1755
  • Medium: Gold and enamel
  • Object size: 3.9 x 8 x 6 cm
  • Weight: 208.9 g
  • Inv: G19
  • Location: Boudoir Cabinet
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Further Reading
  • Jean Ducrollay became a master goldsmith in 1734 and went on to produce some of the most celebrated gold boxes of the middle of the 18th century, His name features frequently in the accounts of the Menus Plaisirs (a royal department) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a supplier of diplomatic gifts.
    The enamel on the cover is a scene taken from an engraving after François Boucher of L’Ecole doméstique. The enameller has created an altogether grander interior to replace the setting of Boucher’s original scene, and has included some additional details: these include the spaniel lying on the lady’s lap, the upturned porcelain tea-bowls on saucers on the chimney-piece and a landscape painting hanging on a damask wall covering. The enamels on the base and front are also very much in the style of Boucher but no exact model has been identified.
    A sketch book of designs by Ducrollay and two other goldsmiths, Pierre-François Drais (1726-88) and Louis Ouizille (fl. 1768-about 1790) exists in the Victoria & Albert Museum in which similar symmetrical scrolling cartouches enclosing enamelled reserves appear.
    The signature ‘Le Sueur’ can be seen on the lid in the bottom right reserve just above the cat. The identity of Le Sueur has yet to be positively identified. Enamels signed ‘Le Suer’ are found on boxes dated between 1750 and 1761, from the workshops of Jean Frémin and Jean Ducrollay.

    Snuffboxes played an important role in fashion and self-promotion, in 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.