A hilarious and artful Victorian era, "When shall we three meet again", donkey lacquered snuff box. It features two hand painted donkeys accompanied by the text, "when shall we meet again". The phrase originates as a
"We Three" joke in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and it reappears in Macbeth with the Three Witches characters.
"Did you never see the picture of We Three?" asks Sir Andrew Aguecheek (from Twelfth Night), referring to a tavern sign of Two Loggerheads - or two fools - with the inscription, "We three loggerheads be," the third being the spectator.
Historians have called these "trick pictures" or visual gags, which could be pinned up in pubs or inns.
Other versions replace the fools with two asses, like our donkey snuff box.
This box can be thought of as a Victorian era meme, with lots of craft undergone to render the image. There's a multitude of uses for this piece, measuring 3" in length by 1 1/2" in width by 3/4" in height, and weighing 29.5 grams.
A unique lighthearted box not to be missed, it makes a fantastic gift for yourself or another!
The snuff box is in very good condition. Circa 1900.