An excellent quality Victorian sterling silver and gilt vinaigrette with hinged lid and decorative inner pierced grill. Lovely crisp condition. The inset tortoiseshell top has intricate silver pique work with ribbons, swags and musical instruments. Weight 23 grams, under 1 troy ounce. Height 1.5 cms. Top measures 2.5 x 2 cms. London 1861. Maker Sampson Mordan, one of the most important makers of the period.
This beautiful silver vinaigrette is in good condition with no damage or restoration. Lovely crisp finish. Marked inside the top and on the edge of the base with English silver hallmarks. The silver pique work is perfect. There is a slight frittiness to the outside corners of the tortoiseshell where it has been fitted into the mount.
Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.
Vinaigrettes, popular from the late 18th century through the end of the 19th century, were small containers used for holding various aromatic substances, usually dissolved in vinegar. A tiny piece of sponge, soaked in the liquid, was contained beneath a grill or perforated cover. Ladies used to carry a vinaigrette with them to combat the aroma from the waste products common in cities. Likewise, the practice of wearing tight corsets also regularly caused woman to faint, requiring the need to carry smelling salts.