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Spice box

Spice box

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1728-1729 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tanqueray, Anne, born 1691 - died 1733 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver with gilt interior, engraved, raised and cast, pierced steel grater

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Simpson through Art Fund support

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The spice box was a French introduction to English silver. The earliest London examples bear Huguenot makers' marks. The gilded interiors protect the silver from oxidisation caused by the salt. This box was marked by Anne Tanqueray, the daughter and wife of Huguenot goldsmiths, who registered her own lozenge-shaped maker's mark at Goldsmiths' Hall after the death of her husband, David Tanqueray, in about 1724.

Physical description

A silver octagonal spice box with two gilded compartments and a central cylindrical steel nutmeg grater on four claw feet. Engraved with the royal cipher GR within the Garter Ribband, crowned. The maker's mark AT is surmounted by a sun with a scallop shell below in a lozenge (indicating female gender)

Place of Origin

London (made)


1728-1729 (made)


Tanqueray, Anne, born 1691 - died 1733 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver with gilt interior, engraved, raised and cast, pierced steel grater

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved with the royal cypher GR within a Garter Ribband crowned
GR for Georgius REX
An indication that this was a royal order during the reign of George II (1727-1760)

Town mark: London


Height: 6.5 cm, Length: 11.75 cm, Width: 8 cm, Weight: 476.5 g

Object history note

Gift - Mr.& Mrs WW Simpson
through the NACF
Acquisition RF: 13 / 6110

Historical context note

The spice box is a French form which is rare in English silver known as a salt box in the early 18th century. The two compartments were intended for salt and pepper. The cylindrical grater is for nutmeg, a spice which was much used in the early 18th century, particularly for punch and other warm alchoholic drinks

Descriptive line

An octagonal silver spice box in two sections with gilt interior on four claw feet with in the centre a cylindrical steel grater.



Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

V&A Catalogue, 1920, No. 100, pl.38.

Labels and date

London, 1728-9
Mark 'AT' with a sun and scallop shell for Anne Tanqueray

The form derives from a contemporary French model used by Huguenot goldsmiths. The central socket contains a nutmeg grater and the other compartments could hold a choice of condiments. By the early eighteenth century, following French practices in dining, the spice box was an essential element of the civilised table. The engraver garter badge indicates that the box was issued by the Jewel House to a court official.

Given by Mr and Mrs W.W.Simpson


Silver; Gold leaf; Steel


Engraving; Gilding; Raising; Casting


Eating; Silver; Tools & Equipment


Metalwork Collection

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