Sunday, May 4, 2014

Unusual Artifacts: A Brass Soap Container, 1750

Soap Container
Brass, once silver-plated, 1750
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Soap containers such as this globe-shaped brass example which rests on a small foot, sat on the well-appointed dressing tables as part of toilet sets of aristocrats.
  These handy little vessels boasted  perforations which allowed the soap to dry. Usually such containers were purchased with companion pieces with solid tops which were designed to keep sponges damp.

This container shows traces of silvering, indicating that it once sparkled more elegantly than it does today. Brass coated in silver was a popular medium for such utilitarian items to avoid the cost of sterling—especially before the Sheffield plate industry was established in the mid-1740s.

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