A vinaigrette or perfume/cologne casket is usually a small silver box or casket with hinged lid that opens to expose a small sponge soaked in an oily sweet smelling substance. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries they were used by both men and woman and were generally carried while traveling to give a pleasant aroma as the streets or traveling companions could often not smell the best. Also used by the ladies to contain scented vinegar to ward off faintness due to hot weather, heavy clothing or maybe just to be fashionable.
This lovely hinged box or casket is probably English in origin, circa 1820 - 1860. It is hallmarked on the base with an "H" and "12" as well as being hand-engraved with "VIII" both on the base and inside of the lid. Designed in six panels creating an elongated oval shape, the piece is embossed with leaves, scrolls and floral. It measures 1 3/4" long, 1 1/4" wide and 1 1/2" high. The interior still holds the original sponge that maintains some sweet scent. There are no damages; hinge works fine; retains a lovely old patina.
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