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 with a "12" as well as being hand-engraved with "H T". The flowing scalloped design creates an elegant elongated oval shape, with embossed vintage grapes and leaves on the lid, while the smooth sides are decorated with six etched bands of which each is a different pattern. It measures 1 1/2" long, 1 3/16" wide and 1 1/4" high. There are no damages; hinge works fine; retains a lovely old patina.
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