- Snuff Box with Miniature of Madame du Barry, late 18th century
This small crystal snuff box would fit in the palm of a hand. It is round and slightly dome shaped on the bottom. The lid shows a round, head and shoulders portrait of a sleepy-eyed young woman dressed in upper class 18th century European garb. Her shoulders are turned to the right but her head is turned back toward the viewer and she meets our gaze. Her eyes are green and her nose is long and straight. Her smile is a bit supercilious. The woman has a pale, ghostly appearance enhanced by her milky skin, powdered hair, and loose white blouse. Her auburn brows are carefully tended, which contrasts with her long, curly, rather unruly hair with wispy strands blowing away from her face. She is wearing a broad brimmed straw hat pulled low on her forehead. The hat is decorated with a sheaf of pale pink and purple tinted ostrich feathers that fall over the front brim of the hat. The hat also has a wide, white sash tied around its crown that falls down the back of the woman’s neck to her shoulders. She wears two rows of delicate, transparent, white lace around her neck and a lavender ribbon tied at her sternum. The background is mottled brown. The portrait is enclosed in a thin gold circle decorated with a continuous rope motif. An ivory, grosgrain ribbon is attached to a folded paper card inside the box. The card has these handwritten words in ink: ...Elizabeth / ...XVI France / ...Ludwig collection
Isabella Stewart Gardner kept meticulous records of many of her acquisitions. In keeping with this legacy, object information is continually being reviewed, updated, and enriched in order to give greater access to the collection.