Counting Box (boîte de jetons) with Counters

about 1750–70


Dimensions

Overall: 1.9 x 8.3 x 5.7cm (3/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/4in.)

Accession Number

2001.238.4

Medium or Technique

Painted ivory, gilt-metal, later leather case

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Recreational

This set of four boxes was intended for the card game Quaerille, a variation on Ombre and Whist and involving bidding, trump suit, and taking tricks. The game called for four players, thereby requiring four boxes, one for each player and for each suit of cards. Each of the four boxes in this set is painted a different color–red, green, and yellow–or left in the natural color of the ivory. The lid of each is decorated with a suit of cards on an ivory disk, flanked by allegorical female figures painted en grisaille within roundels and representing the Four Seasons or the Elements. The top disk rotates on a center bronze pin, and a square opening in this disk reveals a number beneath. Painted on the underside of each lid is a pastoral landscape, depicting fishermen at a stream or figures greeting one another on a country path. These landscapes, painted en grisailles and touched with green, derive from Netherlandish engravings, which enjoyed a tremendous vogue in Paris during the third quarter of the 18th century. Inside each box remains the original painted ivory counting chips painted in the same color as the box and in three different shapes and sizes.

Red box (spades): 5 numerical counters (elongated octagons): 4 discs, 14 batons (slender rectangles). White box (hearts): 5 numerical counters, 6 discs, 16 batons. Green box (diamonds): 5 numerical counters, 2 discs, 16 batons. Yellow box (clubs): 4 numerical counters, 5 discs, 14 batons.

Inscription

Inscribed on the interior: "Mariaual le Jeune a Paris fecit"

Provenance

André Chéronnet-Champollion (b. 1880 - d. 1915), Paris, New York, and Newport, NH [see note]; by inheritance to his son, René Chéronnet-Champollion (b. 1909 - d. 1959), New York and Newport, NH; by inheritance to his widow, Stella Champollion Trafford (b. 1912 - d. 2009), Boston; 2001, gift of Stella Champollion Trafford to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 25, 2001)

NOTE: He may have inherited this set of counting boxes (MFA accession nos. 2001.238.1-4) from his great-grandfather, Jean-François Champollion (b. 1790 - d. 1832).

Credit Line

Gift of Stella Champollion Trafford