Pomander

ca. 1600-1610 (made)
Pomander thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 70, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The name Pomander is derived from the French pomme ambre or pomme d’embre, meaning “amber apple”. This referred to a fruit infused with vinegar and other aromatic substances. Pomanders were personal items of jewellery usually hung at the waist or worn around the neck. The hinged compartments, which open like segments of an orange, contained different scents and were often engraved with the names of the substances inside. The interior of this pomander is engraved with floral decoration, perhaps to evoke its contents.

This piece is an example of 16th century domestic silver. Such silver was both functional and ornamental. Objects for dining and drinking took elegant forms and were decorated in the latest styles. Beautifully crafted items intended only for display often adopted functional forms such as cups and dishes. Domestic silver was not confined to the most wealthy. Many people owned silver spoons or mounted vessels, items which often became treasured possessions.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Pomander
  • Pomander Cover
Materials and Techniques
Raised, engraved, hatched, and pierced gilded silver (silver-gilt) with black wax.
Brief Description
Silver-gilt and black wax, England, ca.1600-10
Physical Description
Silver-gilt and engraved pomander of spherical shape composed of six segments, each a numbered compartment with sliding top, the finial pierced and with a suspension ring, the outside enhanced with black wax
Dimensions
  • Height: 7cm
  • Depth: 6.5cm
  • Diameter: 4cm
  • Weight: 100g
  • Open width: 8.1cm
Marks and Inscriptions
No marks
Gallery Label
(Gallery 70, case1) 21. Pomander for scent 1600–10 Probably England Gilded silver and black wax Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.578-2008(16/11/2016)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Baron Wharton. Purchased from Asprey and Company, London, 1984.

Sterckshof Exhibition RF.2010/400.
Summary
The name Pomander is derived from the French pomme ambre or pomme d’embre, meaning “amber apple”. This referred to a fruit infused with vinegar and other aromatic substances. Pomanders were personal items of jewellery usually hung at the waist or worn around the neck. The hinged compartments, which open like segments of an orange, contained different scents and were often engraved with the names of the substances inside. The interior of this pomander is engraved with floral decoration, perhaps to evoke its contents.



This piece is an example of 16th century domestic silver. Such silver was both functional and ornamental. Objects for dining and drinking took elegant forms and were decorated in the latest styles. Beautifully crafted items intended only for display often adopted functional forms such as cups and dishes. Domestic silver was not confined to the most wealthy. Many people owned silver spoons or mounted vessels, items which often became treasured possessions.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Bibliographic References
  • Tait, Hugh. 'An Anonymous Loan to the British Museum, 2: Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes'. The Connoisseur, vol. 154, Dec. 1963, pp. 152-3.
  • Clayton, Michael. The Collector's dictionary of the silver and gold of Great Britain and North America. London: Country Life Books/Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1971, p. 201, no. 410 (upper right).
  • Clayton, Michael. 1985. The Collector's Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America. 2nd ed. London: Antique Collectors' Club, p. 279, no. 410 (upper right)
  • Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 12, pp. 70-72. ISBN.0875871445
  • Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 30, plate 14. ISBN9781851775934
Other Numbers
  • SG 181 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1996.694 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • GB 215 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • 1998.17 - The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House
  • GPAF
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.578:1, 2-2008

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record createdJune 19, 2008
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