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Snuff box, England, 1771-1830

Snuff box, England, 1771-1830

Credits: Science Museum

Two gentlemen are pictured sitting at a table surrounded by tobacco and smoking pipes. One is comforting the other who is being sick after too much smoking. The illustration is titled ‘A Beast’, probably referring to the effects shown in the picture. The papier mâché box was used to store snuff, tobacco that is snorted or inhaled through the nose. Snuff, a powdered form of tobacco, was popular in the 1700s and 1800s for its stimulating nicotine boost and was also believed to help relieve common colds and stop snoring.

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Glossary: snuff box

a small usually ornamental container for holding snuff Boxes, usually having a hinged lid and small enough to be carried in the pocket, used for holding snuff

Glossary: snuff

Tobacco that has been finely powdered. Snuff is usually sniffed through the nose, or applied to the gums with a finger.