This bell salt was so named from the overall bell-like profile of the object as well as of each of the two superimposed sections. Salt was not an easy material to acquire in Europe. In England, it was obtained by the evaporation of seawater. Salt pans were located in towns beside the sea, where they could be flooded and carefully tended while the seawater evaporated. In parts of Europe, rock salt was extracted from mountainsides, where its presence was evidence that the area was once under sea.
This bell salt is comprised of two containers and a pepper shaker. The unidentified maker's mark is known from other small household objects such as cups and salts dating to the early seventeenth century. The decoration is in reserve on a ring-punched ground, and consists of leaves of several types set in roundels or lozenges or elsewhere just set into the ring-punched ground. The effect is much like linen damask, with its contrast of shiny and dulled areas.
Marking:  leopard's head (London assay office mark);  lion passant (English quality mark for sterling);  gothic C in pointed shield (date letter for 1600–1601);  TS monogram in pointed shield (unidentified maker's mark);
Location of marks: - across middle section of (a) and (b) (badly rubbed);  on (c) inside dome
J. Dunn-Gardner (until 1902; sale, Christie's, London, April 29–30, 1902, no. 129); Sydney Loder (until 1931; sale, Sotheby's, London, June 23, 1931, no. 150; to Permain); Permain (from 1931) ; William Randolph Hearst , St. Donat's Castle (until 1938; sale, Christie's, London, December 14, 1938, no. 98; to Douglas); Douglas (from 1938) ; David Nicholson (until 1961; Fine English and Foreign Silver and Plate sale, Sotheby's, London, January 12, 1961, no. 148; to S.J. Phillips); [ S. J. Phillips Ltd. (in 1961; sold to Irwin Untermyer, June 7, 1961) ] ; Irwin Untermyer (1961–68; to MMA)
Artist: James Cox (British, ca. 1723–1800)Date: 1766Medium: Case: gold with diamonds and paste jewels set in silver, pearls; Dial: while enamel; Movement: partly gilded brass and steel, wheel balance and cock of silver set with paste jewelsAccession: 1982.60.137On view in:Gallery 540