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Tobacco

Snuff box in the shape of a shoe

Description:

Snuff boxes were an important possession, reflecting personal status and taste.  Boxes shaped as shoes were not uncommon.

 

Sniffing snuff was the original method of taking tobacco, first used by indigenous Americans.  The practice came to Europe with the return of Spanish, Portuguese and French explorers during the 1500s. It was in Scotland that the traditions of snuff taking were first established, perhaps because of its close links with France.  It gained acceptance throughout Britain when Charles II brought the custom back from his exile in France.

 

More tobacco was made into snuff than was used for smoking or chewing until the 1900s.  Everyone took it.  Lord Nelson took large quantities to sea with him, while Napoleon sniffed over three kilos a month.  Physicians made great claims for it, prescribing snuff for headaches, insomnia, toothache, coughs and colds and recommending it as a measure against infection.

Materials/Media:
wood, metal (pin detail)
Dimensions:
length 110mm, height 37mm, depth 30mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:0206.66
Digital Number:
DMAC011n
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council