Men and women in colonial Virginia enjoyed taking snuff, a preparation of finely ground tobacco often enhanced with aromatic oils, herbs, or spices. Household accounts indicate Martha Washington favored "best Violette Strasberg," a scented snuff popular among women. She probably stored her snuff in this exquisite gold snuffbox with agate lid. Gold snuffboxes were a rare luxury item in 18th-century America. Almost all were imported from England, including this box. There, specially-trained gold chasers expertly hammered lively rococo designs into its flat sides, while an engraver deftly executed the Custis coat of arms on its underside. More


c. 1755



Gold, agate


Overall: 3/4 in. x 1 15/16 in. x 1 1/2 in. (1.91 cm x 4.92 cm x 3.81 cm)


Purchased with funds donated by Christopher Sargent, G. Paull Sargent, John Sargent, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Gannett, Courtney Hagner, and Mrs. Walter Benson in honor of Mrs. Randall Hagner, Jr, 1981
Conservation courtesy of Mrs. Omer L. Hirst

Object Number



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