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Snuffbox

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (marked)

  • Date:

    1777-1779 (marked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Drais, Pierre-François, born 1726 - died 1788 (maker)
    van Blarenberghe family (enameller)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased and enamelled gold, set with freshwater pearls (possibly margaritifera margaritifera) and glazed gouache miniature

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.361-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The scene painted on the top of this box took place on July 13, 1740 in the royal forest of Compiègne. During a court hunt involving Louis XV, a stag was pursued onto the roof of a thatched cottage and remained at bay until the master of the hunt cut the roof from underneath him. The box is reputed to have belonged to Louis XV and to have been subsequently presented to André Huë in 1824 by Louis XVIII. The Huë family had a long tradition of royal service, principally as greffiers de chasse, record-keepers of the royal hunt at Fontainebleau.

The miniatures are by a member of the van Blarenberghe family of painters. The van Blarenberghe family originated in Leyden but moved to Paris in 1751. At least five members of the family were painters of miniatures but as they rarely signed either their first name or initials, their work is difficult to attribute. The hunting scenes shown here are typical of their output.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world’s great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

An oval, gold-mounted enamelled snuffbox, comprising six miniatures in gouache under rock-crystal depicting scenes from the chase.

Place of Origin

Paris (marked)

Date

1777-1779 (marked)

Artist/maker

Drais, Pierre-François, born 1726 - died 1788 (maker)
van Blarenberghe family (enameller)

Materials and Techniques

Chased and enamelled gold, set with freshwater pearls (possibly margaritifera margaritifera) and glazed gouache miniature

Marks and inscriptions

Mark of Pierre-François Drais (active 1763–88)
In the front wall

Paris marks ca. 1777-1779
In the front wall, in the lid, in the base, and on the front of the bezel

Engraved 'Drais Bijoutier du Roy a Paris'
On the bezel

Signed 'van Blarenberghe'
On the miniature on the base

Dimensions

Length: 8.8 cm, Width: 6.7 cm, Height: 3.5 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Apparently, Louis XVI, and thence by descent. Presented by Louis XVIII to Baron André Hüe, thence by descent, 1824. Sotheby's, Geneva, lot 79, November 16, 1983. S.J. Phillips, London.

Descriptive line

Snuffbox with six miniatures depicting scenes from the chase. Gold, pearls, enamel, glazed miniatures. Pierre-François Drais, Paris. Miniatures by a member of the van Blarenberghe family, 1777-79

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

Maricourt, André Baron de. Souvenirs du Baron Hüe, officier de le chambre du roi Louis XVI et du roi Louis XVIII (1787-1815). Paris,1903, note to introduction.
Truman, Charles.The Gilbert collection of gold boxes, Vol. I. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1991, cat. no. 31, pp. 104-7. ISBN.0875871623
Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, plate 39, p. 55. ISBN9781851775934
Zech, Heike. 'Goldboxes in the Gilbert Collection at the V & A'. In : Art Antiques London. Catalogue of Art Antiques London, incorporating The International Ceramics Fair & Seminar, 10 June - 16 June 2010. London: Haughton International Fairs, 2010, p. 16, ill.
Zech, Heike. Gold Boxes. Masterpieces from the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection. London: V&A Publishing, 2015, pp. 60-61, no. 15. ISBN 987-1-85177-840-9

Labels and date

4. Snuffbox with scenes of a hunt, 1777–79

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.361-2008 [16/11/2016]
Snuffbox with hunt scenes
1777–9

The scene depicted on the cover took place on the
French royal estate at Compiègne on 13 July 1740. A stag
pursued by the hunt took refuge on the thatched roof
of a house. Louis XVIII later presented the snuffbox
to Baron André Hüe in 1824. The Hüe family had long
served as record-keepers for the royal hunt. According
to family tradition, the box was first owned by Louis XVI.

Paris, France;
mark of Pierre-François Drais (active 1763–88),
miniatures by a member of the van Blarenberghe family
Gold, pearls, enamel and glazed miniatures
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.361-2008 [2009]

Materials

Gold; Freshwater pearls; Enamel; Rock-crystal

Techniques

Chasing; Enamelling; Setting; Painting

Subjects depicted

Huntsmen; Stag; Horses; Pond; Forest; Cottages; Hunting; Husks; Hounds; Pilasters

Categories

Metalwork; Containers; Personal accessories; Enamels

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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