A LOUIS XV VARI-COLOUR GOLD SNUFF-BOX
A LOUIS XV VARI-COLOUR GOLD SNUFF-BOX
A LOUIS XV VARI-COLOUR GOLD SNUFF-BOX
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A LOUIS XV VARI-COLOUR GOLD SNUFF-BOX
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more
A LOUIS XV VARI-COLOUR GOLD SNUFF-BOX

BY CHARLES-BARNABE SAGERET (FL. 1752-1792), MARKED, PARIS, 1770⁄1771, WITH THE CHARGE AND DECHARGE MARKS OF JULIEN ALATERRE 1768-1774, THE FLANGE STAMPED WITH NUMBER 139, WITH FRENCH CONTROL MARKS POST-1838

Details
A LOUIS XV VARI-COLOUR GOLD SNUFF-BOX
BY CHARLES-BARNABE SAGERET (FL. 1752-1792), MARKED, PARIS, 1770⁄1771, WITH THE CHARGE AND DECHARGE MARKS OF JULIEN ALATERRE 1768-1774, THE FLANGE STAMPED WITH NUMBER 139, WITH FRENCH CONTROL MARKS POST-1838
Oval box, the cover and base set with panels of vertical fluting between chased entrelac and flowerhead vari-colour gold outer borders, the sides each set with a sablé panel with finely chased animals including a rabbit, fox, horse and a tortoise in wooded landscapes, the base centred by an oval sablé plaque depicting a seated man, the interior of the cover further set with another sablé plaque depicting a peacock amongst trees, each within a bright-cut foliate frame and all after La Fontaine's Fables, the side pilasters with columns and chased trophies hung from ribbon-tied foliage, the cover set with an enamelled miniature of the Grand Dauphin Louis de France (1661-1711) in a diamond set silver-mounted frame
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Habsburg, Feldman, Geneva, 15 November 1989, lot 212.
Collection of the late H. Schneider; Sotheby's, New York, 6 December 1995, lot 23.

Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay


This fine box is in the tradition of Louis XV boxes it is made of chased gold set on the cover with a portrait miniature adorned with cut diamonds often intended as a diplomatic gift. Sageret, one of the most important gold box makers provided numerous boxes for the King and the court, and Madame de Pompadour was an avid collector of this style of boxes.

ORFEVRE DES MENUS-PLAISIRS
Charles-Barnabé Sageret was the son of the celebrated gold box maker Barnabé Sageret. He was apprenticed to Jean-Jacques Vuyriot from 1737 and to Jean Chabrol after the death of the former in 1738. In 1752, he became, like his father, goldsmith to the duc d'Orléans registering his mark that same year. From 1756 he supplied gold boxes for the Menus Plaisirs for both King Louis XV and the Dauphin. Sageret also held important positions within the guild. In 1764 he was appointed high commissioner 'du grand bureau des pauvres de la ville' (the office for the poor) and from 1765, 'guard' of the guild. In 1787 he was elected alderman of the City of Paris.

DEDICATED TO THE GRAND DAUPHIN
This box is set on the cover with an enamelled miniature of Louis de France after a portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud painted in 1697. Louis de France (1661-1711) was Dauphin of France (heir apparent to the throne) as the eldest son of King Louis XIV and his spouse, Maria Theresa of Spain. He became known as the Grand Dauphin after the birth of his own son, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the Petit Dauphin. He died before Louis XIV and never became king.
Louis was raised and educated voluntarily differently from his father and at the age of seven, was removed from the care of women and placed in the society of men. He was tutored by Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, who overwhelmed him with knowledge, forging in the Dauphin a lasting horror of learning, history and books except Jean de La Fontaine’s fables.

JEAN DE LA FONTAINE FABLES
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) published in several volumes from 1668 to 1694, fables which he collected from a wide variety of sources, both Western and Eastern, and adapted them into French free verse. The first collection of Fables Choisies appeared on 31st March 1668, comprising 124 fables divided into six books over two volumes. These were dedicated to the six-year-old "Monseigneur" Louis, le Grand Dauphin. The first six books, collected in 1668, were mainly adapted from the classical fabulists Aesop, Babrius and Phaedrus and feature anthropomorphic animals and contain an explicit or implicit moral. Almost from the start, the Fables became a French literary classic and were regarded as providing an excellent education in morals for children.

A COMMEMORATIVE SNUFF-BOX
The box is chased on the sides, underside and inside with six panels depicting fables from the first six books and comprised: The man and his image (Book I, No 11), the fox and the stork (Book I, No 18), the hare and the frogs (Book II, No 14), the jay decked in peacock feathers (Book IV, No 9), the horse and the wolf (Book V, No 8), the hare and the tortoise (Book VI, No 6).
The box was commissioned 100 years after the publication of the first fables dedicated to Louis de France, Louis XV's grandfather. This combination seems to make this box a commemorative to celebrate not only the publication of the famous Fables but also Louis de France who died in 1711.

A ROYAL WEDDING PRESENT?
The box is hallmarked with the date-letter G for the year 1770-1771 a year of important royal weddings. The year 1770 saw the wedding of the Dauphin to Marie-Antoinette, and the new Dauphine received a basket of snuff-boxes, fans, watches, cases, knives, scissors, perfume bottles, boîtes à mouche and souvenirs, many of which were made by Sageret. According to the Royal records, he delivered for 66,736 livres, boxes intended for the future Queen and for all the members of her Household. Sageret was by then one of the most important gold box makers in Paris.
1771 saw the celebration of the Comte de Provence's wedding (1755-1795), the King's brother, when again Sageret delivered thirty-seven boxes amounting to 62,746 livres.
A. Maze-Sencier makes no reference to a box that might resemble this one but he records that the boxes delivered for the Comte de Provence’s wedding were decorated with portraits, children and with Flemish or pastoral scenes without further information (see A. Maze-Sencier, Le livre des Collectionneurs, Paris, 1885, p. 108-113).

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