Mustard pot

Antoine Moyset French

Not on view

During the eighteenth century, mustard was served at the table either as a dry powder or mixed with vinegar to form a paste or sauce. The dry powder was contained in a caster left un-pierced or fitted with a removable sleeve that blocked the holes. Most of the mustard pots in the Museum’s collection were made to serve the condiment mixed into a sauce; they take the form of a small jug barely distinguishable from a lidded milk jug with a spout. Some lidded pots have an opening to accommodate a small spoon. The knob on the lid of this pot may refer to the seedpod of the mustard plant.

By the mid-18th century, mustard pots were also made in porcelain. Indeed, the journals and inventories of the Paris luxury dealers, the marchand merciers, itemize many more mustard pots made of ceramics than of silver, and often were listed as having a plateau and a spoon. Rarely do these survive in silver, although some precious metal examples had a matching plateau as recorded in the account books of the marchands merciers.

Daughter of one of the founders of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, Catherine D. Wentworth (1865–1948) was an art student and painter who lived in France for thirty years. She became one of the most important American collectors of eighteenth-century French silver and on her death in 1948 bequeathed part of her significant collection of silver, gold boxes, French furniture, and textiles to the Metropolitan Museum. The collection is particularly strong in domestic silver, much of it provincial, and includes several rare early pieces.

Mustard pot, Antoine Moyset (French, active Toulouse, master 1729, died 1764), Silver, French, Toulouse

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