This is an important piece of history, c.1795, a large Russain made papier mache and lacquer table snuff with an overlapping portrait miniature of Emperor Paul 1st (Petrovich, Emperor of All Russia 1796-1801 - he was assassinated) and his 5 children in profile. The box is made by Loukitine, Moscow. The portrait is framed in with a karat gold mount and the interior retains a foil lining (for tobacco), and signature crest of the Russian emperor family. He was the son and heir of Catherine, The Great. Their relationship was strained, always. An historical figure you'll want to research. The object is a piece of Russian Dynastic heritage and importance. Large, the box is 4.5" long, 3" wide and 1.25" tall when closed. The artist has signed the work, "De Mays 1795", just the year before Pietrovich became Emperor of all Russia.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type, the profiles overlaying one another in a grisaille manner now were likely painted but missing cover glass, all but the oil painting or black lacquer surrounding them remains. You can still see each one quite clearly. There is also a hairline traversing about half the width, low on the shoulder of the Emperor, easy to see. Again, no damage at all on the actual box, interior still with foil used to keep tobacco fresh. Artist signature visible below the youngest children, right. No warp. It closes smoothly, a long piano hinge to backside. I have not tested the gold of the portrait's surrounding mat, but I'm certain it is 12k or higher, perhaps 18k. Difficult to test without scraping a bit and I do not want to leave a scratch, nor remove it from its box to test.