A pair of French silver and silver gilt figural double salt…
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A pair of French silver and silver gilt figural double salt cellars, Odiot, Paris, circa 1875, each with a shaped oval body, gadrooned to the lower section and centred to either side by a cartouche with an engraved armorial crest, the two bowls with detachable silver gilt dishes, rising to a standard cast in the form of a standing putto holding a garland of flowers, raised on four scroll feet, one marked on the base, the other with hallmarks apparently rubbed, 1,402 gms total weight of silver, 22 cm wide, 18 cm high, 7 cm deep

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  • Hallmarks - A mark stamped on articles of precious metals in Britain, since the 14th century, certifying their purity. It derives its name from the Guild Hall of the Goldsmiths' Company, who recieved its Charter in 1327 giving it the power to assay (test the purity) and mark articles of gold and silver.

    The hallmark will consist of several marks, including the:

    - silver standard mark, indicating the purity of the metal. Sterling silver is .925 pure silver.

    - the city mark indicating the city in which it was assayed eg London, Birmingham, York etc.

    - the date mark, usually a letter of the alphabet in a particular font and case,

    - a duty mark, indicating whether duty had been paid to the crown, and only in use from 1784 to 1890

    The piece may include an additional mark, the maker's mark, although not forming part of the hallmark, will be located in the vicinity of the hallmarks.

    Sometimes silver plated items will bear faux hallmarks, often confusing those not familiar with silver markings.
  • Gadrooning - A series of lobes usually as a border. In furniture gadrooning is found as carved decoration around the edges of table tops in the Chippendale and Jacobean style furniture. Gadrooning is also found as decoration on the rims of silver and ceramics.
  • Armorial / Armourial - Bearing a coat of arms. Coats of arms came into general use by feudal lords and knights in in the 12th century, and by the 13th century, arms had spread beyond their initial battlefield use to become a flag or emblem for families in the higher social classes of Europe. They were inherited from one generation to the next. When a family crest is used on individual items of silver or furniture it is an indicator of the aristocratic standing of the family represented.

    Armorials were also used to decorate mass produced ceramic souvenir ware by such companies as Goss, Carlton & Shelley, and in these cases the coats of arms displayed were of boroughs and cities.
  • Circa - A Latin term meaning 'about', often used in the antique trade to give an approximate date for the piece, usually considered to be five years on either side of the circa year. Thus, circa 1900 means the piece was made about 1900, probably between 1895 and 1905. The expression is sometimes abbreviated to c.1900.
  • Floral Swag / Garland / Festoon - Floral swags are a decorative motif often used in the ornamentation of various objects, such as silverware, glassware, and furniture. The term "swag" refers to a garland or wreath of flowers, foliage, or other decorative elements, which is usually arranged in a loop or curve.

    Floral swags can be found in a variety of decorative styles, from ornate Baroque and Rococo designs to more naturalistic Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. They are often used to add a touch of elegance, refinement, or whimsy to an object, and can be seen on a range of items from chandeliers and candlesticks to picture frames and tea sets.

    In the decoration of silver objects, floral swags are often used to accentuate the curves and lines of the piece, and to add visual interest to the surface. Similarly, on glass objects, floral swags may be used to frame or highlight a particular area of the object, or to add a touch of color and delicacy.

    On furniture, floral swags can be found on a variety of pieces, from cabinets and armoires to chairs and sofas. They are often used to enhance the lines and curves of the furniture, and can be used to create a sense of movement and flow in the design.

    Overall, floral swags are a versatile decorative element that can be adapted to a range of styles and applications, and have been used in the decoration of various objects throughout history.
  • Putto / Putti / Amorino / Amorini - A putto (plural: putti) or amerino (plural: amerini) is a cherub or cupid frequently appearing in both mythological and religious paintings and sculpture, especially of the Renaissance and Baroque periods and later used as a decorative element in the design of furniture, ceramics, statuary etc. They are usually depicted as chubby males, or of indeterminate gender, often with wings. Their depiction may represent an association with love, heaven, peace or prosperity.
  • Engraving - The method of decorating or creating inscriptions on silver and other metal objects by marking the surface with a sharp instrument such as a diamond point or rotating cutting wheel.
  • Cartouche - An ornamental panel in the form of of a shield, oval or rectangular scroll with curling edges. It may be carved into the back of a chair or the top of a sideboard, or present on a piece of silver or jewellery, and contain the initials of the original owner, heraldic symbols, or some other inscription, such as the details of a presentation.

    In ceramics the term defines the central area of a vase or similar with a decorative border in one of the shapes above, into which a decorative scene or figures have been painted.

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