Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Souvenir with portrait of a man

Pierre-Denis Chaumont (master 1777, active 1793)
Miniature in the style of Antoine Vestier (French, Avallon 1740–1824 Paris)
French, Paris
Gold, ivory; ivory
3 3/8 × 2 1/8 in. (8.6 × 5.4 cm);
miniature, oval: 1 3/8 × 1 1/8 in. (3.5 × 2.9 cm)
Metalwork-Gold and Platinum, Miniatures
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.1268 a–c
Not on view
In eighteenth-century Europe, Paris led the production of high-quality luxury goods. Parisian goldsmiths made a wide range of small, personal articles such as snuffboxes; étuis to hold sealing wax, tweezers, or utensils for sewing; souvenirs, which contained thin ivory tablets for note taking; and shuttles for knotting lace. Gold snuffboxes and boxes decorated with portrait miniatures were prized and frequently given as royal gifts, often to ambassadors or members of the court in lieu of cash payments for their services. Coveted and admired, these boxes were produced from a variety of materials. The best were skillfully made of gold and embellished with diamonds, enameled decoration, lacquer, and other luxurious materials. By the middle of the century, the taking of snuff had become an entrenched social ritual, and the snuffbox, too, had become an important social prop. Snuffboxes were considered highly fashionable accessories, with some merchants advertising new boxes with each change of season. The popularity of snuffboxes extended to all levels of society, and for those who could not afford gold, boxes were produced in less expensive materials such as silver, tortoiseshell, porcelain, or domestically produced lacquer.
Inscription: On cover, in pierced gold: (on front) SOUVENIR, (on back) D'AMITIÉ

Marking: [1] crowned fleur-de-lis, 2 grains de remède, PDC, device a heart (maker's mark for Pierre-Denis Chaumont);
[2] interlaced foliate L's (Paris charge mark for gold and medium-sized silver, 1780–82)
[3] crowned italic R (Paris warden's mark, 1781–82);
[4] cherubim's head (Paris discharge mark for gold and small silver, 1780–82)

Location of marks:
[1]–[4] on inset flange of carnet
Bernard Franck (acquired between 1875–1902) ; J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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