"AP" (Alexis Proffit, Paris) / Pierre Adolphe Halle, Paris, 80 x 60 x 33 mm, 124 g, circa 1777
An exquisite and extremely rare presentation snuff box with three-colour gold ornamentation and polychrome enamel portrait of a courtier, signed Peter Adolf Hall (French: Pierre Adolphe Halle)
Case: 22K gold, maker's punch mark "AP" (Alexis Proffit, Paris), charge and discharge mark Jean-Baptiste Fouache (1775-1781), Parisian guild punch mark "O" for the years 1777-1778, later French control marks.
Oval case, lid, sides and base with engine-turned pattern and decorated with chased three-colour gold rocaille, volute and flower ornaments. Hinged lid with oval miniature enamel portrait of a courtier in contemporary dress, with powdered wig, velvet jacket and a white ruffled jabot.
Peter Adolf Hall or Pierre Adolphe Halle in French (Boras 1739 - 1793 Liège), was an artist of Swedish-French origin and known in particular for his miniature paintings. He originally studied medicine and natural history but began living as an artist in Paris in 1766. He was appointed painter to the court in 1769. After the storm on the Bastille he emigrated to Liège in 1792.
Alexis Proffit began his apprenticeship on July 23, 1767 with Antoine Bénard and completed his training on December 16, 1775; with his teacher Bénard as his sponsor, he was now entitled to work in his profession. His mark was registered on December 20 and showed his initials "AP" next to a tree.
The "retailer-goldsmith" Proffit was originally registered at the Cour Lamoignon (1775-1786) before moving to the Quai des Orfèvres (1787-1793). The general almanac of Paris in 1791 lists him as one of the commissioners of Section 37 (the so-called Section Henri IV).
There is a remarkable similarity between Proffit’s mark and that of André-Antoine Poupart, who became a master on February 22, 1783 – this only difference is a sheaf in Poupart’s mark.
Other boxes by Alexis Proffit are illustrated and described in: "Catalogue des tabatières boîtes et ètuis des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles du musée du Louvre" by Serge Grandjean, Paris 1981.
Case: very good