Pair of early Bow Large Shell Salts or Sweetmeats


A very handsome pair of Bow large sized salts or sweetmeats, comprising a deeply fluted shell resting on top of three conical shells, perhaps whelks, lavishly encrusted with smaller shells, clams, coral and the rope-like whelk egg casing on both the base and the large shell dish.
A fragment of the base of a similar salt was excavated on the factory site in 1867.
The Bow invoice of 1749 in the Bute archives mentions “3 pair shell salts …£1 1s 0d”. The bills refer to items of Bow bought by Lord Dumfries for Dumfries House where the porcelain still remains and provides a valuable aid to dating.
Ref: P. Begg & B. Taylor, op. cit., no 174 for a slightly smaller example;
R. Wise Sharp, China to Light up a House, p. 27 for a similar pair with applied shells to the shell dish;
B. Horn, op. cit., p. 87.

Circa 1750-52

Marks:  Incised Arrow and Annulet

Private English Collection

Height: 4.5Ins (10.5cms.)

Item No. 1781

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