BELL AND HOUR-GLASS SALTS

Along with standing salts, trenchers and the salt cellars of earlier days, there were special forms introduced by silversmiths or perhaps made to the order of patrons with " ideas " of their own. Some of these odd-shaped vessels survive in isolated examples. In other instances, how-ever, it would appear that the " freak " pattern was popular and to some extent became a recognised form of salt cellar although its special use did not perhaps survive long. Another rather peculiar form of salt-cellar was made in Tudor times, becoming popular in the days of Elizabeth, known as the bell-shaped salt, the salt being extracted from the upper part of this turret-shaped vessel. Some of these now very scarce and valuable examples of the Elizabethan period were of dome-top form, the vessel often standing on three feet and frequently richly ornamented and even jewelled. Another quaint form of ancient salt-cellar is the " hour-glass " salts, so called from their form which resembled the hour-glass then in regular use.