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Snuffbox

Maker:
Jean Marie Tiron (called Tiron de Nanteuil) (French, active 1748–73, died 1793 (?))
Artist:
After a painting by François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris)
Date:
1767–68
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
Gold, enamel, diamonds
Dimensions:
Box: 3 1/2 × 1 7/8 in. (8.9 × 4.8 cm); Miniature: 1 1/8 × 1 9/16 in. (2.9 × 4 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.1110
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 616
In eighteenth-century Europe, Paris led the production of high-quality luxury goods. Parisian goldsmiths made a wide range of small, personal articles such as snuffboxes; étuis to hold sealing wax, tweezers, or utensils for sewing; souvenirs, which contained thin ivory tablets for note taking; and shuttles for knotting lace. Gold snuffboxes and boxes decorated with portrait miniatures were prized and frequently given as royal gifts, often to ambassadors or members of the court in lieu of cash payments for their services. Coveted and admired, these boxes were produced from a variety of materials. The best were skillfully made of gold and embellished with diamonds, enameled decoration, lacquer, and other luxurious materials. By the middle of the century, the taking of snuff had become an entrenched social ritual, and the snuffbox, too, had become an important social prop. Snuffboxes were considered highly fashionable accessories, with some merchants advertising new boxes with each change of season. The popularity of snuffboxes extended to all levels of society, and for those who could not afford gold, boxes were produced in less expensive materials such as silver, tortoiseshell, porcelain, or domestically produced lacquer.
Marking: [1] crowned fleur-de-lis, two grains de remède, IT, device a level (maker's mark);
[2] crossed laurel branches (Paris charge mark for gold and small silver work, 1762–68);
[3] crowned italic D (Paris warden's mark for gold, 1767–68);
[4] hound's head (Paris discharge mark for gold and small silver work, 1762–68);
[5] eagle's head in double outline (Paris restricted warranty mark for gold, 1847 to present)

Location of marks:
[1]–[3]: inside bottom and front wall of box, inside cover;
[4] on insetting rim of box;
[5] on insetting rim of box, struck twice
J. Pierpont Morgan , London and New York (until 1917; to MMA)
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