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A lady at her dressing table: M.58-1984

An image of Snuff box

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

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Object information


A lady at her dressing table
Translated as: oval, tortoise shell box inlaid with gold piqué point work flowers; the interior painted with a vignette of a lady seated before her dressing table


Unknown (Maker)


Tortoise shell with chased gilt metal mounts, inlaid gold piqué point work and a painted polychrome vignette in bodycolour, probably on card, under glass. Oval with straight sides with projecting edges and a projecting hinge. The top of the lid is decorated with a flowering tree, rocks, plants and a dragonfly. The base is decorated with a simpler image of a plant, cloud and dragonfly. The interior of the lid is painted with a lady seated before her dressing table and mirror; she reads a letter whilst attended by a black servant bringing chocolate or coffee. The thumbpiece and mount of the lid are chased with stylized foliage and flower heads.


History note: Not known before donor

Legal notes

Given by Dr & Mrs J.C. Burkill

Measurements and weight

Height: 1.6 cm
Length: 8 cm
Width: 6.5 cm

Relative size of this object

8 cm1.6 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1984-07-23) by Burkill, J. C., Dr & Mrs


Mid 18th Century
1730 CE - 1760 1760 CE

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Painting: composed of bodycolour glass Box: composed of tortoise shell Mounts: composed of metal Piqué Work: composed of gold Surface Of Mounts: composed of gold Gold Piqué:

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.58-1984
Primary reference Number: 150635
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 7 June 2021 Last processed: Tuesday 8 June 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Snuff box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-11-30 12:40:14

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=|title=Snuff box|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-11-30 12:40:14|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="" alt="A lady at her dressing table" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">A lady at her dressing table</figcaption> </figure> </div>

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