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17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box     Order Form     Request more information
Reference: S1837
Period: 17th Century
Year: Circa 1685
Silversmith:
Place: London
Price: $ 3 250.00
Weight: 49 grams
Dimensions: 5.3 cm * 3.8 cm
Condition: Excellent, both hinges perfect, snug closure. Slight wear to base from usage. Gilding also very good condition. Scratch 8 mm on interior next to grille.

Description: A rare and interesting 17th century silver spice box/ vinaigrette, with a polished oval agate panel set in the lid. The box is beautifully engraved, particularly the base which has 2 birds reaching for a hanging bundle of fruit. The box in rectangular with cut corners (so octagonal in shape), the raised lid is cushion shaped, with a mounted oval of polished orange agate. The box has a protruding thumb piece for easy opening, and stand-away (protruding). The engraving is mostly scrolling foliage, with a border of acanthus leaves, the base and hinge have a diaper border. The rim has 2 sets of engraving, the first reads "EF 1711" on the front side panel, the next reads "WC 1714" on the 2 side panels. These were engraved by different hands, the second WC 1714 is much cruder than the first, which is quite charming, with cross hatching inside the letters and "double engraved" numbers, the first could have been professionally engraved, the second probably done by the new owner. The interior of the box is interesting, with a hinged vinaigrette grille with its own thumb piece, the lid and base gilded with a deep reddish gold colour, the grille is a slightly lighter yellow gilding. The grille is punched with 2 different sized holes, in a diamond pattern with 5 circles (1 inside diamond and 4 in the corners), within a rectangular border. We originally considered the vinaigrette grille to be a later addition to the spice box as fashions changed, but have been informed by a leading expert that this could be original. The box has no hallmarks, so perhaps made as a special commission, or made for personal use. An almost identical spice box is featured in the Lion Collection, depicted in the book "British Silver Boxes 1640-1840" by John Culme (a book we highly recommend). Item 36, page 55 depicts a 17th century silver spice box, probably London circa 1685, by maker WI below fish. The shape appears almost identical, complete with oval polished hardstone panel set in exactly the same manner, the engraving is also very similar, and could have been done by the same hand. It would be interesting to see additional pictures of the Lion collection box, particularly the base engraving and interior. We also note a number of the earlier boxes in the Lion Collection have no hallmarks, so this is not unusual. A similar box is also depicted in the book "Silver Boxes" by Eric Delieb, page 75, described as a William III rectangular cut corner snuff box, again the engraving is very similar, Delieb describes it as "debased laurel motif borders". A similar box, London circa 1690, with makers mark TT, was sold by Lawrences January 19th 2016, lot 590.
17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
17th century silver agate spice box

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
17th century silver box - base showing engraving

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
antique silver vinaigrette - open showing grille

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
Gilded Grille open - antique silver spice box

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
Agate lid - silver snuff box

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
Birds and fruit - detailed silver engraving

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
Back of box showing hinge

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
EF 1711 engraving - Lion Collection silver box

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
WC 1714 - SILVER SPICE BOX

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
ACANTHUS ENGRAVING - 1714

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
17th century silver agate spice box - SCALE

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
Gilded grille detail

17th Century Silver & Agate Spice Box
Hinge detail - antique silver box

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