Bell salt

Marked by HM

Object Place: Europe, London, England


H. 21.6 cm (8 1/2 in.); W. 10.1 cm (4 in.); Weight 260.5 gm (8 oz 7 dwt)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver gilt

Not On View





The salt rests on three ball feet and is composed of three separate sections. The middle and lower sections are spool-shaped; each is fitted with a well for salt at the top. The sides are decorated with strapwork and geometric ornament against a matted ground. The lower borders are chased with a bead-and-reel pattern, and the molded rims have a stamped bead pattern. The removable cover is domed and surmounted by a threaded sleeve and a removable pierced finial. The dome is chased with acanthus leaves and has a stamped beaded rim. The three sections of the salt are raised, with applied rims of molded or stamped wire. The finial is cast and fabricated in three sections. The hollow ball feet are formed in two sections. The surface of the salt has a grainy texture that may be attributable to re-gilding.


On side of middle section, pounced, DCP


On side of lower and middle sections, date letter P; lion passant; leopard's head crowned; maker's mark HM conjoined a mullet and two pellets below and a pellet above in a shaped shield (Jackson, 1921, p. 113; rev. ed. 1989, p. 106) (repeated on inside cover)


Davies Gilbert, Trelissick [see note 1]; William Bruford & Sons, Exeter; By 1925, with William E. Godfrey, New York; June 20, 1925, sold by William E. Godfrey to Frank Brewer Bemis [see note 2]; 1935, gift of Frank Brewer Bemis to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 7, 1935)

[1] This provenance has not been verified and is based on Mr. Brewer's documentation in the MFA curatorial file. According to Brewer's description, the bell salt was in the Gilbert family for generations and kept at their Cornish Estate, Trelissick. [2] See original receipt in MFA curatorial files.

Credit Line

Bequest of Frank Brewer Bemis