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Silver Snuff Box

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Silver Snuff Box

A silver snuff box made by John Campbell II in Glasgow c 1760.

Engraved on the box is the badge of the Clan Donnachaidh, which consists of a hand holding up an imperial crown and the motto virtutis gloria merces (the reward of valour is glory). On the base is the Glasgow hallmark consisting of a tree, bell, bird and fish.

Snuff is finely ground tobacco which is inhaled through the nostrils. The fashion for snuff-taking came to Scotland from France through the close links between the royal courts, and it gained in popularity during the 17th century. By the 18th century it is said that one in two Scots took snuff. Expensive and highly decorated snuff boxes were all the rage with the rich and fashionable, while poorer folk made do with boxes made from cheaper materials such as wood, pewter and horn.

Reference: E.1990.39

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

clan badges, Clan Donnachaidh, clan mottos, coats of arms, goldsmiths, hallmarks, silversmiths, silverware, snuff boxes, town marks

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