Rectangular black tortoiseshell snuffbox gold-mounted (18k), the hinged lid with a push-button is inlaid with a superb oval miniature portrait depicting Michel Ney (1769-1815), Marshal of the Empire (1804), Duke of Elchingen (1808), Prince of Moskowa (1813), signed on the right "Hollier".
He is depicted as a bust, bare head, short curly hair and long sideburns with red highlights. He wears a black tie and is dressed in his embroidered full dress of a Marshal of the Empire with epaulettes. It features the red silk cord of the great eagle of the Legion of Honor, the great eagle star embroidered in silvered threads, the gold cross of the Legion of Honor for officers and higher ranks hanging from its ribbon red, and the insignia of the knight of the Iron Crown of Italy suspended from its yellow ribbon with green edging.
Goldsmith: probably Antoine Tardiveaux (1798-c. 1815).
Hallmark of 3rd title (rooster to the left) and large guarantee (lion's head) for Paris (1809-1819).
3rd title hallmark with bear head (1795-1838).
Good general condition, small chips at the tortoiseshell on the edge, traces of humidity on the miniature.
L. 8 x D. 6 x H. 2.5 cm. Gross weight: 82.3 g.
- Presented by Marshal Michel Ney, Duke of Elchingen, Prince of Moscowa (1769-1815).
- French private collection.
The miniature possibly exhibited by Hollier at the Salon of 1808 under number 294 ("M. le Maréchal Ney").
A similar snuffbox with an identical miniature signed Hollier, offered by Marshal Ney to his aide-de-camp M. Vallet, was sold at Binoche & Giquello, June 20, 2012, lot 18.
Jean-François Hollier (1772-1845), pupil of Jacques-Louis David and Jean-Baptiste Isabey, is one of the best miniature painters of his time. Based in Paris, he exhibited at the Salon between 1804 and 1831. In his obituary he was honored in these terms: "(...) he walked almost immediately after Isabey, almost all the notable figures of the Empire wanted to have their portrait executed by him..."