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Crayfish Salt: EC.23-1941

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Crayfish Salt


Factory: Chelsea Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porcelain Crayfish Salt, moulded, and painted naturalistically in enamels

Soft-paste porcelain Crayfish Salt, moulded and painted in red, yellow, green, brown and black enamels. The salt is formed of a deep open, oval shell, resting on a rocky mound base modelled with seaweed, and applied with crustacea, a large naturalistic crayfish flanking the shell. The whole is painted in naturalistic colours.


History note: Dr Bellamy Gardner collection; sold Sotheby’s, 12 June 1941, Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of Chelsea Porcelain, English Ceramics and Enamels, the property of Dr and Mrs Bellamy Gardner, lot 4

Legal notes

Given by the National Art Collections Fund as Trustee of the R S Cochrane Fund

Measurements and weight

Height: 7 cm
Height: 2 3/4 in
Width: 11.5 cm
Width: 4 1/2 in

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1941-06-12) by National Art Collections Fund


18th Century, Mid
George II
Red anchor period (1752-1756)
Circa 1752 - 1755


The form of this salt is similar to a pair of silver-gilt crayfish salts in the Royal Collection which were made by Nicholas Sprimont and bear date letters for 1742-3. These were probably inspired by a design by the French architect and Dessinateur du Roy, Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1695-1750), which was reproduced in a large set of prints after Meissonnier titled 'Livre de Legumes', published by Jacques Chéreau (fol. 72, pl. 15, after 1534).

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( red, yellow, green, brown and black)

Materials used in production

presumed lead-glaze Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain, moulded and painted overglaze in red, yellow, green, brown, and black enamels
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: a red anchor

  • Text: an anchor
  • Location: Base
  • Method of creation: Painted in red
  • Type: Factory mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: EC.23-1941
Primary reference Number: 131181
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 2 August 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Crayfish Salt" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-12 22:03:29

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{{cite web|url= |title=Crayfish Salt |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-12 22:03:29|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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