Silver vinaigrettes – small, portable boxes used to transport perfumes and scents – were once common status symbols, but an example on offer at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques may have had an extra function.
This circular George III silver and enamel example, above, 3.2cm, was made by Matthew Linwood of Birmingham, 1807. It features a rotating top that shows enamel number indicators from 1 to 12.
The numbers may have been used for gaming, a popular pastime for the Georgian upper classes. Similar-shaped boxes would also be used to store and carry gaming tokens, which may also have been one of the uses of this piece.
The lid opens to reveal a silver gilt interior with a pierced, shield-shaped filigree grille, inside which the aromatic contents were stored.
It is offered for £1350.
BADA member Steppes Hill Farm offers a wide variety of silver. Its website was launched in 2008.