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Henry Bodson (active 1763-90)

Snuff box 1768-69

RCIN 19136

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Oval hinged snuff box of gold and enamel painted in imitation lapis lazuli, incorporating on the lid, base and sides six oval enamel panels painted en grisaille with classical allegorical figures.

This box is notable for both the quality of its en plein enamel work (enamel applied directly onto the body of the box) and its finely chased gold borders. Blue and gold flecked painted panels give the impression that the body of the box is made from the finest lapis lazuli. Oval enamel panels, on the top, bottom and sides of the box, depict marble statues with amatory themes. One panel shows Edmé Bouchardon's sculpture Cupid making a bow from Hercules' club (Louvre), exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1746. The compositions of two other panels are derived from non-sculptural sources: Cupid sacrificing at the altar of Love and Marriage, on the base of the box, is derived from the engraving Autel de l'Amitié by Gilles Demarteau, after a design by Boucher; Cupid aiming his bow is taken from L'Amour menaçant by Carle Van Loo, engraved in 1765 by Charles de Méchel. The gold borders display a variety of goldsmith's techniques. They are predominantly of red gold but incorporate green gold chased in low relief over sablé or sanded gold backgrounds. The box is struck with the mark of Henry Bodson, who trained in the Louvre studio of François-Thomas Germain, goldsmith to Louis XV. Bodson was received master in 1763 and established his own studio on the pont Notre-Dame, Paris. Boxes bearing his mark survive in the Louvre, Musée Cognacq-Jay and Wallace Collection.

Charge and discharge marks for the fermier-général Julien Alaterre, Paris, 23 December 1768 - 31 August 1775; warden's mark for Paris, 13 July 1768 - 11 July 1769; enamel plaque on the base inscribed HOTEL DE / CHIMEN ET DE / L'AMOUR [sic]

Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002