Snuffbox

English, probably Birmingham
about 1755–60
Artist Unknown, 19th century


Object Place: Europe, England

Dimensions

4 x 6.3 x 8.3 cm (1 9/16 x 2 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

1983.662

Medium or Technique

Enameled copper, transfer-printed, with polychrome decoration; gilt-metal mounts

Not On View

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Enamels

The rectangular box has a domed cover and waisted sides. The cover and the upper rim of the box are mounted with metal bands that show traces of gilding near the plain thumbpiece affixed to the center of the mount on the cover. The mounts are hinged along the back of the box; those around the cover are impressed with a series of raised lines. The cover of the box is decorated with a transfer print showing a barefoot shepherd with his flock. He is dressed in a blue shirt, red breeches, and a black hat, and carries a red sack on his back. The shepherd raises a long stick over his head to urge along the three sheep and a donkey standing in front of him. On the donkey’s back are two panniers that hold several lambs. The group stands on the right bank of a river, in the left foreground is a stump, and on the right stands a brown tree with a broken trunk and a branch with green and brown foliage. The foreground below the tree is brown; that on the rest of the bank is yellow with green and brown overpainting. A man stands on the opposite bank facing the bridge at the far end of the river. A building with an attached tower is visible beyond the bridge, and a hill rises in the distance. The sky is filled with pale blue and lavender clouds. The front edge of the cover is painted with a dark blue band. The front and back of the box are painted with large flowers in rose-pink, blue, and yellow with red outlining and green foliage edged in red. The sides and base are painted with smaller blue and yellow flowers with similar foliage. The interior of the box is enameled in white.

Provenance

New York. 1955, Rita and Frits Markus; 1983, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus