The taking of snuff saw a dramatic increase at the beginning of the 18th century. In the collections of the London bank at New Court is a Louis XV lacquer Chinoiserie snuff-box, once owned by Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) and given by him to his son Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), in about 1758.
The collection of snuff boxes of Ferdinand de Rothschild (1838-1898) was consistent with his passion for the French decorative arts of the period. He may also have been inspired to build on a collection begun by his father, Anselm, from whom Ferdinand inherited six very fine boxes decorated by the van Blarenberghes, a Dutch family who worked in France.
Purchasing mainly through London dealers, he acquired many more boxes with van Blarenberghe illustrations. Two of these represent the unveiling of the equestrian statue on the place Louis XV in 1763, which are recognised as masterpieces. The van Blarenberghe snuffboxes were remarkable for their high level of detail, often including hundreds, sometimes thousands of figures in one scene. Among them were contemporary events, country and port scenes, moral tales and scenes from popular operas and plays of the day.
Alice de Rothschild (1847-1922) continued her brother's collection of snuffboxes when she inherited his house at Waddesdon, adding eight more decorated by the van Blarenberghes, and two in semi-precious stone in the form of pug dogs, reflecting her liking for these dogs.She also acquired a snuffbox on the top of which was a Svres porcelain plaque painted with two dogs which belonged to Mme de Pompadour.