Pair of Dutch silver salts cellars
Maker’s mark a fish, unidentified
Middelburg, date letter A (1713)
158 grams; 8,5 cm high; 9,7 cm diameter base
This pair of diabolo-shaped, plain-waisted saltcellars is embossed with various species of flowers and foliage and a swirling stipple engraving. The circular shallow bowls are bordered in similar outline. The salts are placed on three ball feet below the protruding border. Both salts are engraved with a monogram MMIH (or HIWW). Fully marked below the foot rim, displaying assay stripes. Also struck with a duty mark of Zierikzee of 1795.
In the 17th century saltcellars used to be rather large and impressive. A single large salt would be placed in the centre of the dining table, containing the expensive commodity. However, as salt became less expensive during the 18th century, saltcellars became smaller and consequently their number increased at the table.
Diabolo-shaped saltcellars embossed with floral motifs are typical for the second half of the 17th century. In Haarlem and Middelburg, for example, 18th century silversmiths used to derive their designs for saltcellars from 17th century examples.
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-Particuliere collectie, Nederland
-J. De Bree, Zeeuws zilver, Schiedam, 1978