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 1830 July Revolution ‘Tabatiere des Braves’ - Snuff Box
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1830 July Revolution ‘Tabatiere des Braves’ - Snuff Box

Measurements: Diameter: 93mm (3.5in)



Turned wood, metal lined and applied with hand coloured printed panels memorializing the French martial tradition and detailing French recruit training as taken from the military writings of Vicomte de Toussant. The obverse decorated with multiple Tricolore (as reintroduced by the Marquis de Lafayette in 1830), a laurel wreathed Cross of Victory and three escutcheons listing various drills, set against a trophy of arms, the outer edge inscribed with French battle honours from Namur, Malplaquet, Fontenoy Valmy, Bautzen, Pyramides, Austerlitz, Moscowa etc. The reverse decorated further drills between six canon radiating from the Legion d’Honneur and the words ‘Patrie and ‘Honneur’.

Dating from the the July Revolution of 1830 the present snuff box is a commentary on the Napoleonic-era training regime used by both the regular army and the National Guard. Reference on the lid to the works of ‘Vte. Toustain’ might indicate the box was more specifically produced  with the bourgeois citizen-soldiers of the National Guard in mind. During the turmoil of the 1830 Revolution the National Guard were credited by Louis-Philippe and his Orléanist supporters with restoring order and safeguarding property in the French capital. The following year it played a major role in suppressing the June Rebellion against the Louis-Philipe’s government. By 1848, however the same National Guard had largely abandoned constitutional monarchy and fought in the Revolution of 1848 in favour of the republicans. This change in allegiance reflected a general erosion in the popularity of ‘Bourgeois Monarchy’ and a shift to new form of patriotic sentiment.

Charles-Gaspard, Vicomte Toustain (1746-1836) was by turns officer in the Lorraine Regiment, a die-hard supporter of Louis XVI, a prisoner of the 1789 Revolution, a supporter of the Napoleon’s coup of 18 Brumaire, and a military theorist and a man of letters known to Voltaire. During the Revolution he offered himself as surety for Louis XVI after the king’s flight and recapture at Varennes. Toustain was imprisoned for his troubles after pleading for the King’s life. Under the Premier Empire, he accepted the colonelcy of National Guard of the Lower Seine department.