Learn about Vinaigrette

A vinaigrette is a small tightly-lidded box, usually finely worked in gold, silver or enamel, with an often elaborate pierced grate beneath the outler lid, with the interior holding a sponge soaked in aromatic vinegar, its purpose being to disguise odours caused by poor hygiene and drainage. Vinaigrettes were used from the late 18th century until the late 19th century.

To prevent corrosion by the vinegar, the interior of the vinaigrette was usually gilded. Occasionally the grille is made of gold, a rare and desirable feature although often difficult to distinguish from gilt.

They were usually rectangular in shape, but are found in other shapes iincluding fish, bells, helmets, beehives books and so on. The most common material used was silver, but they were also made in other materials including precious stone, shell, ivory, enamel, agate, pearl and combinations of these.

Among the most collectable are the silver vinaigrettes known as "castle-tops" where the lid has an embossed image of a topographical scene including a recognisable castle, abbey or country house. more...

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Georgian sterling silver vinaigrette hallmarked Birmingham. C1825. TN. Approx 18g & 4 cm x 2 cm

Georgian silver vinaigrette hallmarked. Birmingham. C.1794. IS. Approx 14g & 3 cm x 2 cm

Antique sterling silver vinaigrette with gilt interior by Nathaniel Mills, circa1834 (detached grill), approx 21g & 3.5 cm long

George III sterling silver vinaigrette with silver gilt hinged grill, leaf engraved. C.1810. Approx 22g & 4 cm long

Nathaniel Mills Georgian silver vinaigrette. Beautiful grill. Approx 16g & 3 cm x 2.5 cm

A Sampson Mordan I sterling silver combination vinaigrette scent and pill box 57g

A hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette, floral engraved, vacant cartouche, gilt interior, 33 x 21mm. Wt. 13g. Birmingham 1825.

A George IV silver vinaigrette, engine-turned; Nathanial Mills, Birmingham 1825.

Antique sterling silver vinaigrette, by Joseph Willmore, Birmingham 1810-11, fitted with gilt washed pierced grill, 22.2 grams, approx 0.5 cm high, 4.5 cm wide, 3 cm deep

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, shaped rectangular, with suspension ring, engraved with leaf scrolls and with vacant cartouche; Edward Smith, Birmingham 1843. (grille non-extant) width 2.8 cm

Silver guilloche enamel vinaigrette antique fine guilloche enamel vinaigrette with figural, pastoral scene. Hinged lid reveals gilding to pierced raised centre. Suspended from a silver bar. Hallmarked 'SG' & 'A' probable Viennese origin

English hallmarked sterling silver George III vinaigrette with a gilt wash interior. London, 1817, maker William Ellerby length - 5.3 cm. Weight 30.5g

A sterling silver vinaigrette. Maker Nathaniel Mills, together with a smaller vinaigrette, Maker S.P. Samuel Pemberton

George III hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette. Birmingham 1807, maker Matthew Linwood. Gilded interior with grid. Provenance: Private Collection, ACT. Length two cm. Weight 7g

George III hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette. Birmingham 1811, maker Samuel Pemberton. Gilded interior, with grid. Monogrammed. Insert loose. Provenance: Private Collection, ACT. Length two cm. Weight 4g

An early Victorian sterling silver vinaigrette with bright cut engraved covers. Birmingham 1838. Length 2.4 cm

A sterling silver vinaigrette. 1856 Birmingham, with maker's mark A.T for Alfred Taylor, of petite shaped rectangular form with engraved scroll work and a cartouche to the top with initials and dated 6th August 1867, the interior gilt washed and having a p

A silver gilt George IV vinaigrette. 1835 Birmingham, with maker's marks for Edwin Jones, of typical petite form with engine turned exterior and an applied and shaped floral frame surrounding a cartouche inscribed 'Inez', the inner hinged grille of pierced

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, serpentine rectangular form with all-over engraved decoration, cast thumbpiece, gilded interior with engraved and fret cut grill. Birmingham 1850 by Nathaniel Mills.

A Victorian silver gilt vinaigrette, modelled in the manner of a miniature caddy, oblong shape with canted corners, the hinged lid opening to reveal a foliate pierced grill. London 1865 by Samuel Morden. Width 3.4 cm

A very small George III silver vinaigrette, oblong with fruiting vine embossed border and 'Rope-Work' walls; the gilded interior with foliate pierced grill. Birmingham 1818 by Lawrence & Co. Width 2.2 cm

A Victorian silver 'hunting horn' vinaigrette, the horn mouth with hinged cover, opening to reveal a gilded foliate pierced grill, the 'mouthpiece' unscrews to act as a stopper and the body can be used to hold perfume. London 1873 by Thomas Johnson. Length

Victorian hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette. with internal pierced grill, Birmingham 1846. Maker Edward Smith

A good small Victorian period silver vinaigrette with finely engraved decoration, gilded interior and beautifully pierced grill. Birmingham 1833 by Thomas Shaw. Length 3.1 cm.

A fine quality George III period silver vinaigrette of oblong shape with engraved decoration, gilded interior and pierced grill. Birmingham 1814 by John Shaw. Length 4 cm

An English George III sterling silver vinaigrette, Birmingham, 1816, Joseph Willmore, the cover with bright cut quatrefoil on trellis ground with central cartouche initialled Mcm, enclosing the gilt interior with a pierced floral and scroll grille

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, shaped rectangular, engraved with scrolls and with vacant cartouche, Edward Smith, Birmingham 1859

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, shaped rectangular, engine-turned and with engraved cartouche, James Fenton, Birmingham 1858

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, oblong, engraved with scrolls, gilt interior and grille, David Pettifer, Birmingham 1853. (chenir broken)

Georgian sterling silver vinaigrette, London 1823, Thomas Pemberton

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, serpentine rectangular form, machine engraved covers, the gilded interior with floral and scroll engraved pierced grille, original sponge. Birmingham 1863 by Hilliard and Thomason

A George IV silver vinaigrette; gilt interior and grille, applied foliate edge; Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1825. 35 x 2.2 cm

Victorian Nathaniel Mills hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette. Birmingham 1840. Gilded interior & grid; embossed decoration. Length 4 cm. Weight 29g

A 19th century silver vinaigrette, engraved decoration to the base, the lid with a lake scene within a scrolling decorative border, serpentine form, original gilding to interior, marks rubbed

A Victorian silver vinaigrette, decorated with a detailed gothic architectural vignette on an azure, linial engraved ground, the oblong case with serpentine outline, concaved walls and a hinged lid opening to reveal a finely foliate pierced gilded grill. B

An. 800 silver Dutch clog shaped vinaigrette, the exterior decoratively cast with birds, small animals and flowers, the hinged lid revealing a gilded grille. Width 65

Georgian hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette. London 1875, makers Thomas Phipps and Edward Robinson, with internal pierced oval removable grid. Width 5 cm. Weight 46g

George III hallmarked sterling silver vinaigrette. Birmingham 1802. Makers Cocks and Bettridge. No insert. Length 4 cm. Weight 17g

A George III silver vinaigrette, rectangular form, the lid with geometric cruciform engraving with floral highlights, scroll initials to the cartouche on the reverse, the gilded interior including a pierced and engraved grill. London 1806 by Joseph Willmor

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