A John Lawrence vinaigrette hallmarked for 1829 offered at Richard Winterton Auctioneers in Lichfield.

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These so-called castle-top boxes were fashioned by the silver ‘toy’ makers of Birmingham into vinaigrettes, snuff and card cases, and were engraved or die-stamped with images of churches, castles, manor houses and other landmarks.

In ATG issue 2319, we reported on the sale of one of the earliest castle-tops ever produced; a George IV silver vinaigrette that sold in October at The Canterbury Auction Galleries for £2300.

Made by John Lawrence & Co, Birmingham, and decorated with a view of St Peter’s Church in Brighton, it was hallmarked for 1829 – a date that marked the starting point of the castle-top trade, which would last until it fell out of fashion three decades later.

Now another Lawrence vinaigrette hallmarked for 1829 has surfaced at Richard Winterton Auctioneers in Lichfield.

It shows a view of Brighton Pavilion, the only other Brighton vinaigrette that Lawrence produced.

This silver gilt example, which has a low relief view of the pavilion and a pierced grille of foliate scrolls and cornucopia, is estimated at £2000-3000 in the sale on December 12.

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