Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Snuff box

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1820-1880 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved wood ( probably mahogany), brass piqué work (small holes drilled into the wood to hold pieces of metal wire)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    T.1578-1913

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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 wooden shoe-shaped snuff box is decorated with brass studs and piqué work forming floral motifs, 'buttons' and 'stitching'. The top of the shoe is hollowed to hold the snuff and a piece of sliding wood forms the lid. The size and weight of this box, as well as its loose lid suggest it was meant to be used as tableware rather than carried on one's person. It is one of a pair of identical boxes perhaps made to be used either end of a dining table.

Physical description

Snuff box of carved wood, decorated with brass piqué work. One of a pair.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1820-1880 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Carved wood ( probably mahogany), brass piqué work (small holes drilled into the wood to hold pieces of metal wire)

Historical context note

Part of the Messrs Harrods gift.

Materials

Brass; Mahogany

Techniques

Piqué work; Carving

Categories

Tableware & cutlery; Containers; Woodwork; Smoking accessories; Personal accessories

Collection

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.

Ajax-loader