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Dr Thomas Boyle Grierson

Circular snuff box

Period:
19th Century
Description:

Circular wooden snuff box. From the collection of Dr T B Grierson of Thornhill Museum. The inscription reads:

 

“Made of a tree which was brought when a plant from France in 1561, by Mary, Queen of Scots, and planted by her in the garden of Holyrood House.  Blown down by the wind 1817.  Warranted genuine, A Rose, 18 Horsewynd, Edinburgh.”

 

Mary returned from France to Scotland in August 1561 after the death of both her mother and her husband, the French King Francis II.  She was aged only 18, and had been absent for 13 years.  She landed at Leith, and was escorted to Holyrood Palace, where she spent the following seven years.

 

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.

Dimensions:
diameter 72mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1965.1596.2
Digital Number:
DMAC012a; DMAC012b
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council


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