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Snuff box

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tortoiseshell, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gilt-brass wire, stained ivory, and silver-gilt hinges

  • Museum number:

    584-1854

  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 69, The Whiteley Galleries, case 20

This snuff box is made from tortoiseshell inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gilt-brass wire and ivory stained green. This technique of inlaid tortoiseshell is known as piqué work. A rather crudely engraved plaque on the lid depicts the classical gods Mars and Venus.

Snuff boxes were a vital dress accessory in 18th century Europe and sophisticated owners boasted boxes in the latest fashions. A complex etiquette surrounded the taking of snuff, which was a preparation of tobacco for inhaling through the nostrils.

Physical description

Tortoise-shell, escalloped form inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gilt-brass wire and stained ivory. On the lid rudely engraved plaque of Mars and Venus Silver gilt chased hinge.

Date

ca. 1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Tortoiseshell, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gilt-brass wire, stained ivory, and silver-gilt hinges

Descriptive line

Snuff box, tortoise-shell, in escalloped form inlaid with mother-of-pearl and stained ivory. On the lid rudely engraved plaque of Mars and Venus Silver gilt chased hinge.

Labels and date

Silver Gallery:
This snuff box is made from tortoiseshell inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gilt-brass wire and ivory stained green. A rather crudely engraved plaque on the lid shows Mars and Venus. [26/11/2002]

Materials

Tortoise-shell; Mother-of-pearl; Silver; Ivory

Techniques

Inlaid

Subjects depicted

Figures

Categories

Metalwork; Personal accessories

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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