Set of four small silver salts, each canoe-shaped and double bellied, with reeded edge and two delicately scrolled handles, resting on short stem and oval foot likewise with reeded edge, the interior covered with a light gilt wash, on one side of the main body an engraved crest that possibly includes the Prince of Wales feathers.

Set of Four Salts

Robert Hennell, London, England

1787-1788

A salt, or saltcellar, is a small shallow bowl for holding table salt. Although widely available, salt was once considered a precious commodity because the methods of extraction and refining were laborious and costly. Packed into molds, salt was stored until it dried and was broken down for use in the kitchen or at the table. From the fourteenth century, salt was presented in a grand and expensive vessel. During the seventeenth century, individual salts began to emerge and, with the development of individual place settings, they became an indispensable part of dining. A well-set table had one within the reach of every guest.