European snuff boxes

The precious and costly snuff tobacco deserved a special packaging to be able to take a pinch anywhere you want. So, men and women possess a snuff box, a small box that is carried in their bag. Characteristic is a smooth inside and a dust-proof closure. The latter to preserve the aroma, but also to prevent it from spreading out of the box.

The snuff box was created at the end of the seventeenth century, probably in France, where taking a pinch first gained popularity. The earliest snuff boxes were small and flat, their size increased over time, hand in hand with progressive consumption. The well-closable pots made of white porcelain or brown stoneware were intended to keep a decent stock at home.

The eighteenth century was the heyday of the snuff box. Sniffing was loved in the highest circles of society and a precious snuff box became a most appreciated gift. Of course, the sniffing habit was taken over by simpler circles. They were content with a snuff box made of silver, enamel or porcelain.

A special fashion is the Scottish snuff mull, a ram's horn that has been turned into a snuff box. It is surprising that almost all Scots have used such a snuff box for generations. Variation was apparently irrelevant, except in the details of the mounting, decorations and inscriptions.

In the nineteenth century tobacco sniffing shifted to the lower classes. We see an abundance of simple papier-mâché boxes coming onto the market. They are provided with black lacquer internally and externally, often with a decoration or image on the lid. Simple folk art boxes made of wood or horn were also popular.

APM 4.507


APM 4.507bis
APM 4.513
APM 22.055a
APM 4.838
APM 4.840
APM 4.853
APM 5.947
APM 8.100
APM 14.795
APM 15.381
APM 15.448
APM 15.467
APM 16.354
APM 24.273b
APM 24.031
APM 24.025
APM 16.355
APM 22.970