Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Snuff box

Snuff box

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1800-1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved wood (probably stained mahogany ) decorated with brass inlays and studs.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Boardroom, case CB6 []

Snuff, or powdered tobacco, was widely popular throughout Europe from the 17th century. Sniffed from the back of the hand, from pinched fingers or from a spoon, snuff was enjoyed on social occasions and would be placed on the table or passed around a group. Thousands of small portable boxes to contain the powder, were made as personal accessories, often in novel designs, to be given as gifts.

Shoe and boot shaped snuff boxes were made throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Shoes have long been associated with love and marriage and were often given for good luck. This carved shoe-shaped wooden snuff box is one of a pair, which were perhaps designed to be keepsakes given between friends or sweethearts.. The box is made from a single piece of wood and stained in imitation of inlaid wood. The stained wood floral decoration is outlined with fine brass stringing; and brass studs form the 'buttons' and 'stitching' of the shoe. The top is hollowed out to provide a container for the snuff and is secured with a hinged lid. It is lined with tin to keep the contents fresh and unaffected by the smell of the wood.

Physical description

Snuff box of carved wood, decorated with brass inlays and studs.

Place of Origin

England (probably, made)


1800-1900 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved wood (probably stained mahogany ) decorated with brass inlays and studs.


Length: 14 cm heel to toe, Height: 5.5 cm heel to toe

Historical context note

Part of the Messrs Harrods gift

Descriptive line

Snuff box in the form of a shoe, carved in light and dark wood, with inlay of brass wire. British, ca. 1800-1900.


Wood; Brass


Carving; Staining; Inlay


Tableware & cutlery


Furniture and Woodwork 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.