Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The François-Nicolas Génard Snuff Box, 1764

Snuff Box
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Many historians believe that the dogs and the cat enameled on the top of this box are those of Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV of France.

The pets--Mimi and Ines were portrayed in engravings of 1755 and 1758 by Etienne Fessard. Still, there is no reason to believe that the box itself belonged to Madame de Pompadour as it was made in 1764--the year of her death. Others contend that the supposition is false and that the dogs actually represent fidelity and companionship. Regardless, there's no arguing that the ox is beautiful.

It is set with roundels of enamel crafted to resemble lapis lazuli. This comes from the skilled hand of François-Nicolas Génard who became a master goldsmith in 1754 and was sponsored by Noel Hardivilliers.

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