Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Snuffbox

Maker:
Charles Le Bastier (French, apprenticed 1738, master 1754, active 1783)
Date:
1768–69
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
Gold, enamel, diamonds
Dimensions:
3 1/4 × 2 7/16 in. (8.3 × 6.2 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.1117
Not on view
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.
Inscription: Number stamped inside bottom next to marks: 1744

On cover, in diamonds, later addition: monogram POVW

Marking: [1] crowned fleur-de-lis, 2 grains de remède, CLB, device a rose (maker's mark)
[2] rosette of fleurons (Paris charge mark for gold and small silver, 1768–75)
[3] crowned italic E (Paris warden's mark for gold, 1768–69)
[4] little cow (Paris discharge mark for work intended for export, 1765-74[?])

Location of marks:
[1]–[3] inside cover, bottom and front wall
[4] on bezel at right end
J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
Related Objects

Snuffbox

Artist: Charles Le Bastier (French, apprenticed 1738, master 1754, active 1783) Date: 1773/74 Medium: Gold, enamel Accession: 17.190.1163a, b On view in:Not on view

Snuffbox

Artist: Charles Le Bastier (French, apprenticed 1738, master 1754, active 1783) Date: 1760–61 Medium: Silver, partly gilt Accession: 48.187.382 On view in:Not on view

Snuffbox

Artist: Charles Le Bastier (French, apprenticed 1738, master 1754, active 1783) Date: 1760–61 Medium: Gold Accession: 48.187.434 On view in:Gallery 530

Snuffbox

Artist: Charles Le Bastier (French, apprenticed 1738, master 1754, active 1783) Date: 1758–59 Medium: Gold Accession: 48.187.435 On view in:Not on view

Snuffbox

Artist: Charles Le Bastier (French, apprenticed 1738, master 1754, active 1783) Date: 1771–72 Medium: Gold, enamel Accession: 1976.155.20 On view in:Gallery 545