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The stuff of snuff: The Affective and Sensory Connotations of Snuff Boxes in Eighteenth-Century Culture

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posted on 2023-10-17, 05:20 authored by Lisa BeavenLisa Beaven, Matthew Martin

Abstract: This essay explores the relationship between emotions and material culture in relation to one specific artefact, the snuffbox. Small in scale, capable of activating multiple senses and hugely fashionable, the snuffbox became an enormously popular accessory that was extensively used by both sexes in eighteenth-century society. Its scale, and intimate relationship to the body, made it an ideal gift between lovers or courting couples, and it could be personalised to carry affective inscriptions, imagery or even portraits. Often made of ornate or expensive materials, or studded with jewels, its materiality became part of its seductive charm. Its emotional potency extended to its role in the performance of public identities through the display and manipulation of the box in polite society, while its secret compartments facilitated the retention of mementos or the private display of explicitly pornographic imagery.

History

Publication Date

2022-12-09

Journal

Emotions and Society

Volume

7

Issue

1

Pagination

24p. (p. 95-118)

Publisher

Brill

ISSN

2206-7485

Rights Statement

© Lisa Beaven and Matthew Martin, 2023. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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