Export Chinese Silver Snuff Box, probably by Leeching
length: 6.8cm; width: 4.5cm; weight: 82g
This slender snuff box is surprisingly solid and heavy in the hand; it has the feel and look of a high quality piece. It is unmarked but is very similar in form and motif to one illustrated in Forbes (1985, p. 235), now in the Yale University Art Gallery and which is signed Leeching.
The example here has a typically Chinese scene with four figures among trees and foliage on the cover, along with an armorial cartouche that is engraved with the letters FEH. The back is deeply chased with scrolling peonies amid foliage. The sides are deeply decorated with a flower and leaf design.
Leeching was a silversmith and jewellery firm that operated from the early 1840s to the 1880s at various locations in Guangdong (Canton) such as East Street, Sai Hing Kai and Club Street in Guangzhou, and 24A Queens Road in Hong Kong. There also an outlet in Nanking Road, Shanghai. It enjoyed an excellent reputation for producing the finest items of export gold jewellery work and items in silver.
Acquired from the UK art market.
Forbes, H.A.C. et al, Chinese Export Silver 1785-1885, Museum of the American China Trade, 1975; and Kernan, J.D., The Chait Collection of Chinese Export Silver, Ralph M. Chait Galleries, 1985.
Inventory no.: 772
Queens Road, Hong Kong, circa 1880