Snuffbox

French
about 1750
Attributed to Saint-Cloud Manufactory (France)


Object Place: Europe, France

Dimensions

5.7 x 8.2 cm (2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

1983.633

Medium or Technique

Soft-paste porcelain decorated in polychrome enamels, with silver mounts

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Porcelain

The creamy white paste was press-molded in the form of an oval basket with two rope handles at the ends, a double rope molding at the top and a single one at the bottom. It is possible that the details of the rope and of the wicker were hand-tooled, as was also the radiating wicker pattern on the recessed base; this is centered by an oval pad painted is to represent a flower in the Imari style. The oval top, molded separately, has a bouquet of flowers, including a rose, in relief. The enamel palette is limited to iron red, an opaque medium blue, a translucent turquoise green, and a pale yellow. On the cover, the rose is yellow, the larger flowers blue with a red center, and red and white striped with a yellow center, the leaves are green, and all are outlined and detailed in red. The upper rope moldings and the handles are green, the lower one yellow, all also with red outlines. The oval rosette on the bottom has a blue center, surrounded by red, then by alternating blue and green petals. On the inside of the lid is a scene showing a Chinese man, wearing a broad-brimmed hat, standing in a flower garden. The scene is painted in the same four colors and finely delineated in red; the man’s garments are yellow, red, and blue. There is an insect above, and another inside the lower part of the box. The colors are similar to those on the seaux, no. 52, but are applied with a minimum of brushstrokes to a very thin glaze so that they do not sink into it or tend to flow. The silver mounts are molded and fitted over the edges of the porcelain; a wavy, or fluted, ridge on the upper edge of the lower part emulates the same refinement found on early gold boxes. A shaped thumbpiece balances the projecting hinge, which is of the type characteristic of early gold boxes up to about 1735.

Markings

(1) on silver mount, struck: head of hend, discharge mark of Julien Berthe (1750–56)

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus