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Tobacco box

Tobacco box

  • Place of origin:

    Iserlohn (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1774 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Becker, Johann Heinrich (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass, stamped, rolled, folded and hinged

  • Museum number:

    IS.282-1897

  • Gallery location:

    Metalware, Room 116, The Belinda Gentle Gallery, case DR2

Physical description

Brass Iserlohn tobacco box. The lid is decorated with 3 circular medalions, showing Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Duchess of Austria (1717-80) and her husband Emperor Franz I Stephan (1708-65). In the centre is an Austrian double headed eagle; The reverse is decorated with scenes from the Russian-Turkish War of 1768-74 surrounding the Imperial Russian arms. Battles and sieges depicted on the box include Chocim (Khotyn)(9 September 1769), Chesma (24 June 1770), Poti (1770-71), Crimea (1771) and the Treaty of Kuçuk on 10 July 1774. Brasswork

Place of Origin

Iserlohn (made)

Date

ca. 1774 (made)

Artist/maker

Becker, Johann Heinrich (made)

Materials and Techniques

Brass, stamped, rolled, folded and hinged

Marks and inscriptions

BECKER
Signature of Johann Heinrich Becker

Object history note

This type of tobacco box is sometimes referred to as an Iserlohn box as they were the speciality of the town of Iserlohn in north western Germany. The lid is decorated with 3 circular medallions, showing Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Duchess of Austria (1717-80) and her husband Emperor Franz I Stephan (1708-65). In the centre is an Austrian double headed eagle. The lid is signed by the engraver of the stamp, Johann Heinrich Becker.; The reverse is decorated with scenes from the Russian-Turkish War of 1768-74 surrounding the Imperial Russian arms. Battles and sieges depicted on the box include Chocim (Khotyn)(9 September 1769), Chesma (24 June 1770), Poti (1770-71), Crimea (1771) and the Treaty of Kuçuk on 10 July 1774. Although Emperor Franz Stephan was dead by the time the Russo-Turkish Wars broke out, the combination of the two scenes may commemorate Austrian territorial gains as a result of the conflict.

Historical context note

This box comes from a group of elongated tobacco boxes with rounded ends that were the product of the town of Iserlohn, Westphalia, in north-western Germany, close to the Dutch border. The stamped decoration was applied using a round matrix that was rolled onto the sheet brass before cutting, folding and hinging. They were cheaper to produce than the engraved Dutch examples. The rolling stamp was the invention of the engraver Johann Heinrich Giese (1716-61). In 1755, Giese was granted a monopoly on the production of these boxes by Frederick the Great - they offered a cheap and fashionable means of spreading propaganda and many are stamped with scenes glorifying Frerderick's achievements in the Seven Years War (1756-62). The factory subsequently also stamps engraved by Johann Heinrich Hamer, Johann Heinrich Becker and Johann Adolph Keppelmann. A number of these boxes have Dutch inscriptions and were made for the Dutch market. Dutch ports imported hige quantities of tobacco from the early 18th century.

Descriptive line

Brass Iserlohn tobacco box, the lid decorated with 3 circular medalions, showing Empress Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia, Duchess of Austria (1717-80) and Emperor Franz I Stephan (1708-65), each side of an Austrian double headed eagle; The reverse decorated with scenes from the Russian-Turkish War of 1768-74, Iserlohn, northern Germany, ca. 1774; Brasswork

Materials

Brass

Techniques

Stamping; Rolling

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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