Montesquieu Portrait Tortoiseshell Snuff Box

  • A miniature portrait of French philosopher Charles Montesquieu adorns this tortoiseshell snuff box
  • Dramatic cobalt enameling, perhaps the finest form of enamel decoration, encircles the portrait
  • A snuff box of such superb quality would have been a symbol of wealth and prestige
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-2831

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An exquisite miniature of French philosopher Charles Montesquieu graces the lid of this tortoiseshell-lined snuff box. The handsome portrait was fashioned by the renowned Jacques-Joseph de Gault of France after a popular bust by the French neoclassical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Largely considered one of the finest miniaturists of his time, works by de Gault can be found in important public and private collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Adding to its elegance, the philosopher's portrait is set in a skillfully chased gold and glass frame and a dramatic band of cobalt enameling, over which the Latin 'VITAM IMPENDERE VERO' is inscribed. Beautifully crafted of the finest materials, this rare box would be the perfect acquisition for collectors of both decorative boxes and miniatures.

The box is signed on the miniature “J. J. De Gault 1781 after Houdon 1778”

Circa 1781

2 3/4” diameter x 7/8” deep
Montesquieu Portrait Tortoiseshell Snuff Box
Period: 18th Century
Origin: France
Type: Snuff/Tobacco Boxes
Diameter: 2.75 Inches
Depth: 2.75 Inches
Width: 2.75 Inches
Height: 0.88 Inches
Style: Louis XV

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