Presented for sale is a rare and exceptional late 18th century Meissen porcelain rectangular hand painted snuff box with gilt washed interior and ormolu mounts. The box has canted corners and is painted in a blue fish scale ground embellished with large cartouches to the exterior and interior lid depicting figures in a pastoral setting. The interior is gilded and the hinged mounts are chased with fluting.
Snuff boxes were the prized possession of the cultured and wealthy during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Snuff was actually introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus, who watched the native inhabitants of the New World sniffing the substance, and brought it back to Spain. Hence, the snuff box was introduced as a necessary vessel in which to carry snuff. Fashionable among the aristocrats, the boxes developed into elaborate art forms created out of a variety of materials, none the least of which was porcelain. The exquisite paintings and enamel found on some of the German, French, and English boxes have propelled these tiny treasures into the collecting stratosphere.
The box is in excellent condition with patina to the ormolu closure and minor gilt wear; rare to find one in such pristine shape.
Size: 1 ¾" Height by 3 ¼" Width by 2 ½" Depth.
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