Tobacco Box and Cover

Dutch (Delft)
about 1760–70
Possibly made by Old Moor's Head Factory (active 1690-1773)

Object Place: Europe, Delft, The Netherlands


19.1 x 13.9 cm (7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tin-glazed faience (earthenware) decorated in polychrome enamels and gold

On View

Charles C. Cunningham Gallery (Gallery 247)





The square, molded box is bombé in form. The base and cover have two grooves evenly spaced on each side, running from just below the protruding foliage beneath the finial to the splayed foot. The base, slightly indented at the top edge, swells to a full, rounded shoulder then curves inward, terminating in a flared foot. The cover, fitted with an inner rim, extends slightly over the upper rim of the base. Each corner of the cover is decorated with an applied green tobacco (?) leaf, heavily outlined in black. A low, gold ridge separates the outer lip from the smooth area above it reserved for the landscape decoration. Above the ridge, the cover gradually rises to a square-shaped support surmounted by four green tobacco (?) leaves extending well beyond the support. Between each leaf is an orange oval-shaped indentation. A closed yellow-green tulip (or artichoke?) with petals striped in manganese purple forms the finial. The box and cover have a pale gray-blue ground, and their sides are painted with river landscapes. On the base, in the right foreground of each panel is a pale yellow, sloping river bank with a tall, four-branched tree whose foliage is yellow and green. The edges of the widening river are a deep blue; a rust-colored humpbacked bridge spans the river. A windmill and two smaller houses occupy the left bank; the right bank is more extensive, with several small rust-colored buildings and a tall church spire. Clouds and groups of birds are in the sky. Each reserve is enclosed by a red and gold shaped border with green leaves on either side at the top. The four corners of the box are embellished with a series of flowers and foliage beneath a large scallop shell. The wavy edges of the shell are indicated by red and gold lines, the radial ribs by thinner red lines. Tiny black dots separate the ribs. Beneath the shell are a pink, peony-like flower, three black-veined leaves, a blue-petaled flower with a gold center, and another black-veined leaf flanked by red and gold scrollwork. The foot is divided into two zones of ornament: a solid yellow band edged in red and a red sawtooth border along the lower part. The waisted band beneath the upper rim of the base is painted with red-bordered scrolls and black-veined leaves. At the center of each band are gold and mauve flowers. This motifis repeated on the lower rim of the cover. The river landscapes on the cover are partially enclosed by less elaborate red and gold decoration. The scenes themselves are quite similar to those on the base, though with fewer buildings and fuller trees.


The initials "E K S" are painted in black enamel on inside of box


By 1967, Rita and Frits Markus; 1983, gift of Rita and Frits Markus to the MFA.

Credit Line

Gift of Rita and Frits Markus