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History of the Snuff Mull

A snuff mull is a variation of a snuff box, used for the consumption of tobacco in its powdered form.

The ritual that accompanied this became established around the 1600s, as snuff became popular in Britain. These can be found in many forms, a popular type being the ‘pocket snuff mull’.

Snuff mulls were especially popular in Scotland, with the name seemingly deriving from ‘snuff mill’.

Snuff mulls were made from the 1600s to the 19th century, with little change to their style or design during this time.

These were made from various resources, including silver mounted horn, sea shells, rock crystal and other semi-precious materials indigenous to Scotland. They featured silver lids, to ensure that the snuff inside wasn’t exposed to oxygen which might compromise it.

Occasionally, snuff mulls were engraved, incorporating a date to commemorate a specific event. These included Highland games, agricultural shows and horse races.

Large versions of snuff mulls were created for table use. These were especially popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These versions also featured additional appendages, such as tiny hammers to break up snuff, rakes to extract impurities and brushes to remove excess snuff from the face.

Table snuff mulls were large and impressive; many were made from rams’ heads. These designs were often mounted onto wheels so they could be pushed and pulled along the dining table.

Andrew Campbell started trading in antiques during the 1970s. Initially, Andrew lived in the South of England, travelling the country, searching for items of silver to buy. Andrew sold these items at various London markets and antique fairs. Over time, and through selling at a range of venues, Andrew built up a large and diverse customer base from private buyers to national and international trade customers.
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