The earliest writings in which the French critics expressed their antipathy against the fantastic Louis XV-style date back to the 1740s. They instead advocated the principles of the art of the classical antiquity and they were of the opinion that the decorative arts should adopt their rules from architecture, the mother of all arts. They were of the opinion that the architecture should be reformed in the first place, but the minor arts played an important role in the discussion too.
In the Netherlands the discussion was confined almost solely to architecture, and it was probably the architects who played an important role in the introduction of the Louis XVI, or neo-classical, style in this country. The upholsterers, or 'tapisiers', who co-operated closely with the architects, also played important role in this. In the 1760s a group of French tapisiers settled in the Netherlands who not only upholstered, but also sold furniture, paintings, engravings and even stoves . This group of professionals was probably responsible for the import of the first Louis-XVI furniture into the Netherlands. Besides, the import of all sorts of small luxury goods from France, and after 1780 on a smaller scale from England, played a role in the introduction of the neo-classical style in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands the influence of the architects on the stylistic development of silver was probably very limited. The new style in Dutch silver rather developed through the spread of French printed designs of silver and gold objects. The import of actual silver objects played a minor role, although it is known that some prominent people owned imported French silverware. The famous Amsterdam collector Gerrit Braamcamp (1669-1771), for example, owned a large silver table service made by the important Parisian gold- and silversmith François Thomas Germain (1726-1791).
The introduction of the new style came about gradually. Silversmiths kept on producing objects in Louis XV-style, neo-classical pieces and transitional works next to each other for quite a long period. Long after the neo-classical style had firmly established herself, works in Louis XV-style were still produced. Amongst the silversmiths who worked during the transitional period was the Amsterdam silversmith Johannes Schiotling (1730-1799) . His oeuvre beautifully illustrates the introduction of neo-classicism in Dutch silver. Already in 1772 Schiotling made a pair of candlesticks which may be reckoned amongst the earliest neo-classical works in Dutch silver. During the following years he produced works in the Louis-XV, neo-classical, and the transitional style. As late as 1789 he produced a brazier in a pure rococo style.
Typically Dutch objects like, tobacco pots, breadbaskets and oil and vinegar stands, for which no direct foreign examples existed, were influenced by the new style too, as may be illustrated by the present pair of tobacco-boxes. They are decorated with typical Louis-XVI ornaments like hanging festoons with portrait medallions and tied ribbons, the tied laurel band and the vase finial. The shape of the tobacco-boxes is possibly borrowed from the French circular tureen. In the Netherlands silversmith Johannes van der Toorn from The Hague (1747-1832) made tureens of this type .
Silver tobacco-boxes are a typically Dutch product. They are usually of high quality and were often made by the leading masters. Most of them date back to the 18th Century. The present pair of tobacco-boxes was made by the Amsterdam silversmith Jan Buijsen in 1781. It is very exceptional that we are dealing here with two tobacco-boxes made by one master, which bear the same date mark. Most pairs probably fell apart during the course of the centuries. Even matching pairs of tobacco-boxes which bear different date letters are extremely rare. A matched pair by Douwe Eysma made in Rotterdam in 1774 and 1781 was sold at Christie's Laren on the 23rd of March 1977, lot 108.
 Baarsen, R.J., Meubelen en zilver op de tentoonstelling 'Edele Eenvoud, Neo-classicisme in Nederland 1765-1800', Haarlem, 1989, pp.5-7. (Offprint of the Exh.Cat. Edele Eenvoud, Neo-classicisme in Nederland 1765-1800, Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Teylers Museum, 1989.)
 Exh. Cat. Johannes Schiotling, een Amsterdamse Zilversmid (1730-1799) en zijn Kring, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 1976-1977.
 Baarsen, R.J., 1989 (note 1), pp. 47-48.