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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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

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 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 grill

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

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

A Victorian silver vinaigrette of serpentine rectangular form, engraved covers, the gilded interior with engraved and pierced scroll grille, short length of chain attached, Birmingham 1858 by George Unite & Sons

A Georgian sterling silver vinaigrette, circa 1835, the engine turned case with chased decoration to the lid and gilded interior, the inner lid inscribed 'With the Donors Esteem', hallmarked Birmingham 1835-36, maker M.N., 3 x 2 cm

A George IV silver gilt rectangular vinaigrette by T. Pemberton & Son, London 1823, with foliate border and engine turned decoration, 3.7 cm wide

A George IV silver rectangular vinaigrette, by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham, 1829, with foliate border and engraved leaf decoration, 2.7 cm wide

A Victorian silver rectangular vinaigrette, by Charles Rawlings & William Summers, London 1853, engraved with a castle by a lake within scrolls, 4 cm long

A George IV silver rectangular vinaigrette, by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1829, with foliate border and engraved decoration, 2.8 cm long

A Victorian silver rectangular vinaigrette, by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1839, with cast foliate border and engine turned decoration, 4.3 cm long

A George IV silver vinaigrette, by Edward Smith, 1827, of rectangular form, the top with engraved foliate decoration and oval cartouche, the bottom decorated with a bright-cut floral and foliate motif, with silver-gilt hand pierced grill, hallmarks for Bir

A Georgian cased silver vinaigrette in its original box. Gilt interior.William Eley, London 1808.

A George III silver vinaigrette, of oblong shape, the hinged lid with an applied floral and leaf motif on an engraved background, opening to reveal a gilded interior with a floral pierced grille. Birmingham 1818 by John Bettridge

An oval silver vinaigrette with a hinged lid engraved with a shield within a leaf pattern border, opening to reveal a pierced gilded grille decorated with flowers. Birmingham 1822 by Thomas Wilmore

A George III silver vinaigrette, rectangular form, machine engraved fine fish-scale type decoration, initials to the hinged lid enclosing a floral pierced and engraved gilded grille requiring pin and gilded interior with original sponge. Birmingham 1818 by

A George III silver vinaigrette of lozenge shape, the hinged lid engraved with a foliate meander border framing initials engraved to the centre, a fine gilded hinged grill to the interior. Birmingham 1802 by Samuel Pemberton.

A George III silver vinaigrette, oblong shape, the hinged lid and base with a leaf and flowerhead border framing an engraved panel surrounding a vacant cartouche, the interior gilded and with a foliate pierced grill. London 1827, maker John Bettridge.

Antique gilded sterling pendant vinaigrette by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1838

A late George III silver vinaigrette of oblong form, engraved decoration to lid and machine engraving to base, the interior with a decoratively pierced grille and original gilding. Only bearing makers mark, probably John Shaw of Birmingham c.1810. 4.5 cm x

A late George III silver vinaigrette, the lid embossed with floral decoration, the base with engraved decoration, original gilding to grille. Birmingham 181.8 cm

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