Lacquer Snuff box

’La Modestie’

Stobwasser Workshop

Berlin or Brunswick, First third of the 19th century

Papier-maché, black lacquer with fine decor in oil

Height: 2 cm (0.8 inch)
Diameter: 9,5 cm (3.7 inch) Ref No: 2173

Round snuff box with a very fine painted portrait of a veiled young women with a typical hairstyle and dress of the Biedermeier period. In the cover marked in red ’La Modestie’ (french for Modesty), at the bottom signed and numbered: ’6455 Stobwassers Fabrik’.

Johann Heinrich Stobwasser (1740-1829)

was the founder of one of the most important japanning factories of the day. The main factory was in Brunswick, a subsidiary one was established in Berlin in 1772. They specialized in small objects, notably boxes very finely painted with portraits, landscapes, mythological scenes after Old Masters, sentimental genre scenes, etc. They soon became one of the most important japanning factories of the day with a broad aristrocratic clientele such as the Princely house of Weimar, the Prussian court or the daughter of the Tsar Maria Pavlovna (1787-1859), who bought many pieces for the castles in and around St. Petersburg. But even the upper middle class, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller or E.T.A. Hoffmann are among the clients of Stobwasser.


  • Richter, Detlev, Stobwasser, Lackkunst aus Braunschweig & Berlin, Museum für Lackkunst, Münster; 2005.
  • Richter, Detlev und Willscheid, Bernd, Reinheit, Feuer & Glanz, Stobwasser und Roentgen – Kunsthandwerk von Weltrang, Katalog zur Ausstellung in Neuwied, 2013.
  • Richard-Borek-Stiftung, Werkverzeichnis der Lackwarenmanufaktur Stobwasser und ihrer Nachahmer,