Very rare English pewter octagonal salt by TL c1670-90


Very rare Stuart period pewter octagonal capstan salt made by 'TL' his mark in a shield under the base. Possible makers include Thomas Lodge of Bristol 1659-83, and 'TL' (PS6076) for whom only a drawn mark is recorded, which could be the same as this mark if the detailed elements were not visible. This is a very rare octagonal version of the so-called 'capstan' salt, which in profile resemble a dockside or ship's capstan. Various condiments were used from the earliest times to heighten the natural flavour of foods, stimulate the appetite, aid digestion, or preserve certain foods. Growing international trade increased the variety of spices available in Britain. By Tudor times, the choice was extensive, and pewterers produced vessels such as spice saucers, and later containers for condiment of which salts were among the earliest. One enigma is the received wisdom that early salts only held small amounts due to the high price of salt, which is untrue. It is much more likely they demonstrate the adage ‘form fits function’. It was convenient for most of them to hold small amounts either because damp air spoiled the salt, or because from at least the Stuart period it was usual for several salts to be placed about the table. British salts are almost exclusively unlidded suggesting the problem of moisture absorption was quickly realised. In good used condition with areas of oxide, and medium-dark grey original surface patina. 1⅞” tall, with 3¾” top, and 4” base diameters. 233g weight. REF: P1803