A Good James II Century Snuff Box

Maker: 
Maker's Mark W.I below a fish
Dated: 
Circa 1685
Dimensions: 
2.1" x 1.6" (5.3cm x 4.1cm)

Of oblong shape with cut corners, the lid engraved with the head of a putto in the centre flanked by delicate symmetrical leafy scrolls. The hinge with 11 sections and the bevelled edges engraved with stiff leafage. The base with 4 large leafy scrolls all surrounded by a band of pointed running straps with ribbed sides.  The sides quite plain and the inside of the lid engraved "K.M".

Price: 
£1850
Provenance: 

For a box by the same maker see Culme: British Silver Boxes 1640-1840, The Lion Collection, p.55, no. 36.

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By this period the use of tobacco boxes was well established but it wasn't untill the last quarter of the 17th century that snuff boxes started to appear in greater numbers. This form of box is well known and seems to bear only the maker's mark or no marks at all. A common but attractive feature is the use of a sophisticated hinge, in this case divided into 11 sections. The interior typically shows splashes of solder which was often the case for areas out of normal sight. Tankards and mugs, for example, were usually left with obvious traces of solder around the bases.