Silver gilt vinaigrette in the form of a harp, stem and sides enamelled with blue and floral and pastoral decoration, with perforated inner cover, probably French, probably 18th century
Vinaigrettes were small, often ornamental containers filled with vinegar. If a person was about to faint, the sharp smell of the vinegar would shock the body into action. They could also carry sweet smelling substances and be used as pomanders. They were carried by both men and women. This ornate gilt silver example is enamelled with a floral and rural scene, showing a couple courting in a garden. The lid is hinged to allow the container to be filled.