Beautiful sterling silver vinaigrette. Hallmarked for rare maker Thomas Brough in London in the year 1800. Original sponge. Outside/inside gilding.
Great condition. Engraved. Inside needs a polish. (sponge marks)
3.2 x 2.2 / 1.26 x 0.87 inch
16gram / 0.56oz
Perhaps the smallest kind of silver box, sometimes no larger than a postage stamp, is the vinaigrette. They have often a fretted grille inside, under which a sponge soaked in aromatic "vinegars" was kept to assist in fainting fits or to overcome bad smells. The English (mostly from Birmingham) came in all kind of shapes, as books, purses, shells, acorns, nuts, barrels, strawberries, helmets, beehives, snails, watches, chests, in fact almost everything you can think of. Some of them are set with semi-precious stones, or they may be wholly of these stones and set with silver. Predecessor of the vinaigrette was the pomander, itself a descendant of the "pomme d'ambre", or apple of amber, and incidentally ancestor of the dried orange stuck with cloves which one once used, but they generally take the form of a round contrivance with up to eight segments rather like those of th orange itself; they open individually and disclose compartments filled with herbs and oils.
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