An Elizabethan silver pommander unmarked, circa 1600,
Lot 143
An Elizabethan silver pommander
unmarked, circa 1600,
Sold for £13,750 (US$ 23,111) inc. premium
Auction Details
An Elizabethan silver pommander unmarked, circa 1600,
Lot Details
The Milntown Collection
An Elizabethan silver pommander
unmarked, circa 1600,
The trefoil finial unscrews to release the six loculi, each engraved to the exterior with a portrait of a Monarch, four Tudors, one each from the houses of Lancaster and York: Henry IV (1367-1413), Edward IV (1442-1483), Henry VII (1457-1509), Henry VIII (1491- 1547), Edward VI (1537-1553) and Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the interior panel with honeysuckle blooms and bands of stiff leaves with similar stiff leaves on the central column, raised on a stepped circular foot, height 6cm, diameter when closed 4cm, when open 9cm.


  • Purchased from How by Sir Clive as a gift for Lady Edwards: (26th March 1945) "I am so glad you like the pomander, I think they are fascinating things and one does not see many."

    These Royal Portrait Pomanders are discussed by Delieb, page 75ff, Silver Boxes (Woodbridge 2002), an example from the Wellcome Medical Historical Museum is illustrated (Plate 115) and he quotes the late Director of the Museum, Dr E Ashworth Underwood: "a pomander with six sections enabled six substances to be inhaled simultaneously." This answers the immediate concern that the present lot might have lost the sliding cover for each loculus; there is no evidence of any such mechanism.

    The segmented-form pomander is traditionally thought of as German or North European but the engraving of the English monarchs certainly suggests made for the English market or made locally using the skills of Dutch or German engravers present in London.
  1. Michael Moorcroft
    Specialist - Silver
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7393 3835
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3875