A very similar gold box by Proffit, of 1783/1784, also with a miniature of the Duke by Hallé, is in the Louvre (S. Grandjean, Les tabatières du musée du Louvre, Paris, 1981, pp. 148-149, no. 180). An enamelled gold box of 1786/1787, again by the same 'team' of Proffit and Hallé, was sold at Christie's, London, 3 June 2003, lot 121. A further miniature of the Duke by Hallé was in the Brewster collection, sold at Sotheby's, Geneva, 15 November 1995, lot 335. It may be tempting to suppose that both Proffit and Hallé were regularly employed by the duc de Penthièvre.
Louis Jean-Marie de Bourbon, duc de Penthièvre (1725-1793) was the son of the comte de Toulouse and of Marie de Noailles and thus a grandson of King Louis XIV with his mistress Madame de Montespan. He was the Grand Admiral of France and Governor of Brittany. From his marriage to Marie-Thérèse d'Este, he had two children, the short-lived prince de Lamballe, husband of Marie-Antoinette's ill-fated friend, and the future duchesse of d'Orléans, wife of the equally doomed Philippe-Egalité. Whilst his children-in-law perished during the French Revolution, the duc de Penthièvre was so popular that he was not troubled by the revolutionaries despite his exceptional wealth.