Urgent Museum Notice

William III tobacco box

Close up of William III tobacco box

Small oval tobacco box made of silver. The relatively plain box features a Rococo engraving of a coat of arms at the center of the lid.

Elizabeth Haselwood, William III plain tobacco box, ca. 1695; Silver, 7/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Silver collection assembled by Nancy Valentine, purchased with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Grace and family

William III tobacco box
Elisabeth Haselwood

This oval tobacco box by Elisabeth Haselwood is the oldest object in NMWA’s silver collection. Small silver boxes were used for a variety of purposes and were often made by silversmiths who specialized in such objects.

Tobacco was a common habit in the 17th and 18th centuries, usually smoked in a pipe or grated for snuff. It was typically carried around in small, flat, oval containers, making these objects the most common type of silver box in the 18th century.

Inside the box’s cover, the initials TB are likely an original engraving. The Rococo engraving on the exterior—the coat of arms of the Gedding family of Norfolk—was probably added later by the third or fourth generation of owners.

Elisabeth Haselwood learned silversmithing skills from her husband, Arthur Haselwood II, whose father, known as Arthur Haselwood the Elder, was a prominent silversmith in Norwich. After the death of her husband in 1684, Haselwood registered her own mark and continued in the family business.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Elisabeth Haselwood
  • Title

    William III tobacco box
  • Date

    ca. 1695
  • Medium

    Silver
  • Dimensions

    7/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Silver collection assembled by Nancy Valentine, purchased with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Grace and family
  • On Display

    No