Daniel Govaers (or Gouers) French
Miniature after a painting by Rosalba Carriera Italian
Far from trivial, snuffboxes were the creation of multiple highly trained specialists such as goldsmiths, chasers, enamellers, and miniaturists, who worked together to produce these complex and diminutive forms of luxury. This snuffbox is marked by Daniel Gouvers, a Parisian goldsmith whose name can be found inscribed on the lower lip of the box. The dynamic shell, scroll, and balustrade motifs chased on the lid of the piece and on the bottom are typical of the Rococo-style snuffboxes that predominated in France in the early to mid-eighteenth century. Similar motifs can be found in another piece by Gouers in the collection (48.187.419). Inside, this snuffbox features the portrait of a woman holding a dove set within a dark landscape, a miniature based on a painting by Rosalba Carriera. Although the Italian artist became well known for pastel portraits of elite sitters such as Gustavus Hamilton, Second Viscount Boyne (2002.22), also in the museum, she in fact had begun her career as a miniaturist decorating the lids of snuffboxes, before eventually establishing her reputation as a member of Rome’s prestigious Accademia di San Luca in 1704.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.