Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

'Etuy a tambour'

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen and red ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of Wartski Limited

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case CUP, shelf 5, box A

Sketch designs (3 on one sheet) by an anonymous designer, about 1770, firstly for a scissors case, secondly for two étuis, which are small ornamental cases for carrying personal articles such as needles, and thirdly for the top unit of a chatelaine (ornamental chains, pins, or clasps usually worn at a woman's waist, to which trinkets, keys, purses, or other articles are attached). The design for the étui on the left is for tambouring which is a form of embroidery done by stretching fabric over a tambour frame and embroidering it with thread on a tambour hook. It was a fashionable past-time for the aristocracy at this period.

The designs are for elite female clients possibly of the Court of Louis XV, King of France, from 1715 to 1774, at Versailles, Paris. The designs are from an album of designs which date from about 1735-1820 and include those for snuffboxes, scent holders, watches and watch cases, spoons, fans and fan mounts, small swords, and chatelaines.

There is a close relationship between the contents of the album and known work by three Parisian goldsmiths, Jean Ducrollay (1710-1787), Pierre- François Drais (active 1761-1788), and Charles Ouizille (1744-1830) whose names appear on the first page of the album. This suggests that all the designs emanate from their workshops. Drais worked for the Court at Versailles as jeweller to both King Louis XV and Louis XVI. Ouizille worked in this capacity for Louis XVI. Most of the material dates from the period 1755-90.

Physical description

Sketch designs (3 on one sheet) for two étuis, a scissors case and the top unit of a chatelaine. There are other drawings on the back.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca.1770 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen and red ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

''Etuy a tambour'
Etui for tambouring
In pen and red ink beneath the design on the left.

In pen and red ink beneath the cemtral design

In pen and red ink beneath the design on the right.


Height: 20.5 cm, Width: 14 cm

Descriptive line

Design from album of designs by Ouizille, French, eighteenth century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Heike Zech, 'Designs for Gold Boxes in the Album of the Workshop of Jean Ducrollay and his Successors', in Going for Gold: craftsmanship and collecting of gold boxes, ed. Tessa Murdoch and Heike Zech (Sussex academic press, 2014).


Ink; Pencil; Paper


Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Scissors case; Pencils; Etuis


Designs; Needlework accessories; Metalwork; Tools & Equipment; Embroidery


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.