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D2108. Blue and White Tobacco Box and Cover

Delft, circa 1765

Of rounded shape with slightly recessed rounded corners affixed over the outset lower edge with its four leaf- shaped feet, the box and ogee-domed cover overall painted with scrolling vines bearing blossoms and buds, all beneath a double-tiered knop.

Height: 16.9 cm. (6.7 in.)

Belgian Private Collection

Tobacco was stored in specially designed boxes like the present example to keep the tobacco moist. The contemporary name for this model of tobacco box is probably tafeltabaksdoos (‘table tobacco box’) as it appears, for example, in the 1783 inventory of the salesman Pieter de Maar and the 1803 inventory of the Drie Posteleyne Astonne (Three Porcelain Barrels) factory in Van Aken-Fehmers 2001, p. 138 and p. 221. The shape is derived from metal tobacco boxes (see Mees 1997, pp. 118 bottom and 135 top for pewter and silver examples from the first half of the eighteenth century). Although the boxes served a functional purpose, they were often decorated with charming designs and used as a desk or table ornament.

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