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

A Baccarat style clear glass table set, comprising a small decanter, two vinaigrette bottles, a lidded dish, two footed glasses and a tray all with swirling optic rib patterns. Plate diameter 28 cm. Decanter height 26.5 cm. and smaller

A 9ct gold vinaigrette; with floral engaved grille under a hinged lid (missing sponge) to engraved border and monogram to base. Dimensions 31 x 24mm. Wt. 8.7g.

A gold vinaigrette box a 9ct yellow gold vinaigrette box with a bird and flower engraved centre. Total weight 13.7grams

Victorian part yellow gold pendant vinaigrette. Faceted crystal face. Internal grill in pierced rose, shamrock & thistle design. Engine turned back. Unmarked. Diameter 26 cm

Antique gold Georgian vinaigrette, set with hardstone

An antique vinaigrette, the rectangular vinaigrette with engraved detail, in 18ct gold.

A Victorian 9ct gold and enamel vinaigrette; engraved hoof motif inlaid with blue enamel. 16mm x 16mm. Wt. 3.2g.

A small satchel shaped silver vinaigrette, by Thomas Shaw, Birmingham 1832 rectangular satchel shape with applied flap and tongue, engraved on the lid with foliate work and to the base with a chequerboard within a dotted border. Gilt interior, the grill pi

A small silver vinaigrette shaped as a handbag, by Lea and Clark, Birmingham 1837 shaped as a handbag, the body cross hatched, traces of gilding to the exterior, gilt interior, the grill with foliate scrollwork piercing, height 1 cm, length 2.5 cm, depth 2

A rectangular silver vinaigrette with cut corners, by Samuel Pemberton, Birmingham 1807 slightly curved form, the lid engraved with leaf work within a prick dot border repeated around the sides. Aplain base engraved 'CHM to C F Orange' over a scrolling mot

A rectangular silver vinaigrette with initials, by Taylor and Perry, Birmingham 1833, the engine turned lid with initials 'Fmj' (?) and a cast thumb piece, similar engraving to base, sides reeded, gilt interior with floral 'Sunburst' formation pierced gril

A rectangular shaped vinaigrette, by Hilliard and Thomason, Birmingham 1854 engraved with foliate scroll work, the lid with cartouche engraved 'Ahwr'. Interior gilt, the grill engraved with foliate scroll work and with circular piercing, height 1 cm, lengt

An oblong shaped silver vinaigrette, by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham 1846 the cover with a radiating design around an applied gold(?) cartouche engraved 'Ab' and similar decoration around a rose to the base, the gilt interior with an intricately pierced gri

two silver vinaigrettes, by Joseph Willmore, Birmingham 1818 and 1834 the first with cover engraved with wavy decoration around a cartouche engraved 'L L', the base with a floral motif within simple borders, gilt interior, the grill pierced with floral and

pressed decoration 'Book' form antique vinaigrette by the Birmingham 'toy Makers' with Patterned grille By Gervaise Wheeler, 1836

Gilded antique vinaigrette by the Birmingham 'toy Makers' with engraved decoration 'Forget Me Not' by Joan Law, 1833

A 14ct gold vinaigrette, 30 x 25mm ovoid vinaigrette set with two large faceted citrines. Wt. 26.3g.

An early gold vinaigrette with lacquer set underneath, tests 18ct, wt.17.7 grams

An early gold vinaigrette in the shape of a book, acid tests 9ct

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