Bell salt by Unknown Artist

Bell salts seemed to become fashionable in the 1550s.


Silver gilt
Height: 23.5 cm
Art Fund grant:
£30,000 ( Total: £150,226; Tax remission)
Acquired in:
Private vendor

This salt has three sections, the lower one on three ball feet, and the upper one functions as a pepper caster. It is chased with strapwork and foliate decoration and bears the maker's mark IB below a horseshoe. Salts were of the highest symbolic importance on the English medieval table and were widespread by the 16th century.


J Dunn-Gardner; Christie's, 1902; Sir Ernest Cassel; then by descent.

Venue details

Ashmolean Museum Beaumont Street, OXFORD Oxfordshire OX1 2PH 01865 278000

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