Ram’s Head Snuff Mull

This Ram’s Head Snuff Mull was produced in Edinburgh in 1875 for the Mosgiel Woollen Company in New Zealand. That Company was founded, in 1871, on the western outskirts of Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island, by Arthur John Burns. Originally from Ayrshire, Burns had arrived in New Zealand in 1848 together with his parents. His father, the Rev. Thomas Burns, was the religious leader in the early settlement of the city of Dunedin and the wider Otago province, and the son of poet Robert Burns’s brother.

Snuff mulls, can be found all over the Scottish diaspora. As is explained in Te Ara:

A snuff mull is an oversized snuff box. […] Mounted on castors, it would have been rolled down the table for gentlemen to partake of the snuff in the small silver box on top of the ram’s head. Attached to the mull by silver chains are a rake to scratch the snuff, a small spoon to scoop it up and a rabbit’s foot for the gentlemen to wipe their moustaches after taking their sniff.

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Mosgiel Wollen Mill, early 1870s, shaving cottages for mill workers on the right

This item is from a museum collection
Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin

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