Pair of salt cellars
Date Made/Found: Around 1785
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate, glass
Dimensions: Overall: 55 x 70 x 120mm (2 3/16 x 2 3/4 x 4 3/4in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1943.230
This object is a container for salt. It was probably made in Sheffield and dates to around 1780. The salt is made of Old Sheffield Plate and has a removable blue glass liner.
Salts were made in a large range of shapes, sizes and patterns in the 1700s. High quality examples made from Old Sheffield Plate and silver had a glass liner, which protected the metal from being corroded by the salt. Small pits can be seen in the bottom of this salt, which suggests it might have sometimes been used without the glass liner. Salts were often decorated with saw piercing, which allowed the colour of the glass to show through.
Salts were placed at each corner of the table at dinner. In formal settings, tablespoons for eating soup were placed symmetrically either side of the salt. Salt was served using a small spoon, which enabled diners to help themselves during a meal. After 1780, around the time this salt was made, they would be used with a ladle shaped spoon. Before this, straight spoons were used.
This object is part of the Bradbury Collection.