Snuff box
  • Snuff box
  • Paul Robert (1720-1779) , Goldsmith
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770), scenes
  • Paris, France
  • Date: 1759 - 1760
  • Medium: Gold and enamel
  • Object size: 3.5 x 7 x 5.1 cm
  • Weight: 162.3 g
  • Inv: G30
  • Location: Boudoir Cabinet
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Further Reading
  • The subjects that decorate this box are largely taken from engravings after François Boucher, but translated from the rural exteriors of the originals to rustic interiors. On the lid, the artist has depicted the shepherdess with a sheep, which might, even in the eighteenth century, be considered unusual in a domestic interior. The scene on the front derives from 'Le sommeil interrompu' (Interrupted Sleep), although it has been translated indoors and depicted in the opposite sense: this painting by Boucher of 1750 was in the collection of Mme de Pompadour in her chateau of Bellevue.
    The source for the cover is “Ce Pasteur amoureux chante sur sa musette”, and that on the base is “Ne plaignons point le sort de ces bergers”. Both are after engravings of “Les Amours Pastorales” by Claude Duflos after Boucher, printed in 1742.

    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.