Dominique-François Poitreau, inventory no. 21, 81 x 63 x 42 mm, circa 1766
A mother-of-pearl and diamond gold snuff box of museum quality
Case: 22k gold, case maker's punch mark "DFP" (Dominique-François Poitreau), charge and discharge mark Jean-Jaques Prévost (1762-1768), guild punch mark "C" for the years 1766-1767.
Rectangular box, lid, sides and base with polished gold panels. Inlaid carved and engraved Chinoiserie figures in an elaborate architectural setting created from shimmering abalone shell and mother-of-pearl. Gold mountings with floral engraving and chasing, open work silver thumbpiece studded with old-cut diamonds; wavy inner and outer rims.
- Sotheby's, Geneva 1986, lot 264, sold to Dr. Anton C. R. Dreesmann
Dr. Anton C. R. Dreesmann (1923-2000)
His ancestors came from Holland. He uniquely combined a business career, an Economics professorship and a passion for collecting. His collection of gold boxes and miniatures were sold at Christie's in London in 2002.
During the mid 18th century boxes with elaborate mother-of-pearl decoration were extremely popular in the fashionable circles of the big cities like Paris, Berlin or Dresden.
Dominique-Francois Poitreau (1725-after 1781)
Born about 1725, he was the son of Etienne Poitreau, landscape- and portrait-painter, who was a member of the "Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture" in Paris. He was apprenticed on 11 January 1741 at the age of 16 to Pierre Ferrat who was to become "garde" of the master goldsmiths' Guild in Paris. When he was registered as a master on 16 July 1757, under the sponsorship of the master goldsmith Francois Delafosse, D-F. Poitreau lived in the Cour Neuve du Palais, that is to say, what is now the Palais de Justice. Three years later he moved to the Cour Dauphine au Palais. He ceased to work in 1781.
There are gold snuff-boxes by Poitreau in the Louvre (Schlichting collection), in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Hanbury Collection).
Source: "Gold Boxes and Miniatures of the Eighteenth Century" by Serge Grandjean, Kirsten Aschengreen Piacenti, Charles Truman, Anthony Blunt; London 1975, p. 342.
Chinoiserie art in 18th century Europe modeled itself on Chinese works of art and was immensely popular at the time. The enthusiasm for all things Chinese was fed by an interest in exotic and unusual cultures as well as the illusion of a gigantic peaceful empire where even the lower classes occupied themselves with literature and philosophy.
Source: "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" - "Chinoiserie", http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinoiserie, as of 02/14/2009.
Case: very good