This c. 1885 vinaigrette is an exquisite piece from a bygone era. Popular from the mid-18th C. to the end of the 19th C., a vinaigrette was used by women (though sometimes also by men) to battle faintness. Inside each piece (which could come in a number of shapes and sizes) was a compartment for a sponge, which was filled with the vinegar. This vinaigrette contains the original sponge
A woman would open the top, hold the piece to her nose, and smell the strong scent through the openings in the silver. They were sometimes attached to a chain for a bracelet or even used as lockets. They were mostly, however, kept loosely in a pocket or handbag. This particular vinaigrette is sterling silver and is shaped in rectangular fashion. The top is engraved with a geometric pattern of shapes and wavy lines. The center of this contains the ornate letters MRP. The border is a rounded pattern. The bottom is engraved with a pattern similar to the top, only without the letters. The bottom also contains a similar border to the top. The holes inside the compartment are a completely different pattern (floral/laurel). An excellent gift for the late 19th C. collector of English silver.
L: 1 5/8 W: 1 1/4 in. H: 1/2 in.