Pocket Treasures: Snuff Boxes from Past Times

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Queen Elizabeth condemned all forms of tobacco in Her successor, James I, attacked its use in a pamphlet, ”A Counterblaste to Tobacco,” and sought to eliminate it by imposing higher taxes and attempting to restrict its cultivation. In the 18th century, tobacco enthusiasts in Britain and on the continent preferred snuffing powdered tobacco to smoking, and a small industry was born to supply boxes to store and carry snuff. The show displays some of these boxes, plus matchsafes, spoons and cutting tools, on loan from a single private collection.

Most of the items date from to , but there are several pieces from as early as and as late as The show documents the great variety of materials and techniques artisans used to make tobacco accessories: silver, base metal, shell, ivory, horn, papier mache, porcelain, stone, wood and straw are represented.

Description: Snuff-box; enamelled; blue-grey; white oval lid with drawing in black of skating figures; mirror on inside of lid. Production date: (circa).

Snuffbox , small, usually ornamented box for holding snuff a scented, powdered tobacco. The practice of sniffing or inhaling a pinch of snuff was common in England around the 17th century; and when, in the 18th century, it became widespread in other countries as well, the demand for decorated snuffboxes, considered valuable gifts, increased. Some were small enough to fit in a waistcoat pocket, and others were larger; all gave 18th-century craftsmen an opportunity to execute rich and elaborate designs.

Snuffboxes reflected the art and craft of the painter of miniatures, the enameller, the jeweller, and the goldsmith and silversmith. Lids often were decorated with typical 18th-century subject matter such as allegories and flowers. Sometimes they were ornamented with cameos or encrusted with precious jewels in arms and crest.

Less expensive snuffboxes were constructed of silver, copper, brass, horn, tortoiseshell , or wood. Some snuffboxes were worn as articles of jewelry during the 18th century. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.

June Treasure of the Month

The tiny and exquisitely beautiful curiosities that once housed tobacco are highly prized. Snuff bottles have fascinated Western and Asian collectors since they were first produced in China in the early part of the 18th century. Conceived as precious containers for ground tobacco imported into China, snuff bottles were initially made for the emperor and the court, and eventually produced in much greater quantities for a public who enjoyed their functionality as well as their display as symbols of status.

Dec 23, – date unspecified An 18k gold and enamel snuff box with hunting scenes Rectangular box with scalloped moulded rims. All sides with curved.

Sort by. David Levi Antiques. Animal head Scottish Horn Snuff Mull c. Scottish Horn Snuff Mull 19th century. Painted Treen Frog Snuff Box 19th century. Treen Boxwood Hand Snuff Box. Treen Dog form Snuff Box 19th century. Treen Frog Snuff Box, 19th Century. Treen Horse Head Snuff Box c. Wooden Horse Head Snuff box, early 19th century,English. Animal head Scottish Snuff Mull, early 19th century. Scottish Horn and Silver animal head Mull 19th century.

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A decorative box , or a snuffbox is a form of packaging that is generally more than just functional, but also intended to be decorative and artistic. Many such boxes are used for promotional packaging , both commercially and privately. Historical objects are usually called caskets if larger than a few inches in more than one dimension, with only smaller ones called boxes. Traditionally gift boxes used for promotional and seasonal gifts are made from sturdy paperboard or corrugated fiberboard.

This exhibition catalogue illustrates enamelled copper and porcelain boxes dating to the 18th and 19th centuries, and an introductory essay includes details of.

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Dating snuff boxes

The Treasure of the Month series offers the opportunity to highlight less well-known works from the collection and to look with fresh eyes on beloved masterpieces. This box is made from plaques of carnelian, a semi-precious stone, which are set in a fine, spidery trellis of gold; it was originally intended for holding snuff, at a time when taking snuff — a powdered tobacco product — was a fashionable habit. On the lid is a scene depicting Leda and the Swan, probably taken from an anonymous print source and carved by another Dresden lapidary.

The allusion to classical Antiquity would have made the box attractive as a highly fashionable accessory in the neoclassical style.

A Victorian white metal mounted carved shell snuff box with hinged lid and suspension ring, apparently unmarked, length of body 5cm.

Have you ever wondered what your Silver Snuff Box is worth? Find out more about the history of the snuff box and get in touch using the form below for a free valuation. Silver snuff boxes are highly collectable items that were popular in the 15 th Century. Read about the history of silver snuff boxes and please get in touch for a free valuation using the form.

Snuff boxes are used to store tobacco powder for inhalation. The practice of snuffing began in the late 15 th century, when tobacco use became popular among Europeans after the discovery of the New World. By the time Charles II was reigning in the mid th century, inhaling snuff was universally popular, even among women. By the early 18 th century the nobility began favouring the use of snuff and they needed something suitable to keep their snuff in.

In the late 18 th century, craftsmen began producing decorative boxes intended to keep the powdered tobacco dry between uses. Through the 19 th century, the snuff box was an essential personal item for members of all social classes.

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British Broadcasting Corporation Home. This snuffbox dates from , from Geneva, Switzerland. The enamel lid was painted in the manner of Jean-Louis Richter, a famous artist of enamel ware, and shows a landscape surrounded by pearls. Snuff boxes date from a time when snuff taking was a popular habit, from 18th to mid 19th century. Snuff boxes could be exquisitely made and valuable; the cheapest were made from potato pulp.

The habit lingered on amongst the aristocracy and monarchy.

The lid is engraved with the initials ERC, and the date It is English, marked only with the maker’s initials, CW, and dates to about The last snuff box.

Let’s call it a small, usually ornamented, box for holding snuff a scented, powdered tobacco. The practice of sniffing or inhaling a pinch of snuff was common in England around the 17th century and in the early 18th century. It became widespread in other countries, when the demand for decorated snuffboxes, which were considered valuable gifts, increased.

Some were small enough to fit in a waistcoat pocket, and others were larger. All gave 17th and 18th century craftsmen an opportunity to execute rich and elaborate designs. Snuffboxes reflected the art and craft of the painter of miniatures, the enameller, the jeweller, the goldsmith and silversmith. Lids were often decorated with Chinoiserie note 1 or other typical 18th-century, subject matter, such as allegories and flowers.

Whilst more expensive items were made of Gold and Silver, less expensive items were made of horn, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl or wood. I am particularly interested in snuff boxes where the design identifies a manufacture in this period. So how do we go about dating them? The lack of full hallmarking may well suggest that, rather than being made in an established silversmith’s workshop in a large town or city, these might have been made by Provincial or itinerant silversmiths for the local gentry.

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