Pair of salts
XQG 1988 116
XQG 2002 179
A pair of silver-gilt salt cellars, each cast as a crab with a large conch shell between its claws; the irregularly shaped base is applied with cast shells and sea foam, supported on three feet cast with coral, shells and sea foam.
This pair of salts, and an accompanying pair mounted with crayfish, form part of the Marine Service created for Frederick, Prince of Wales in the early 1740s. The crabs on this pair, and the crayfish, appear to have been cast from real shellfish. The design for the crab salts may derive from a sixteenth-century bronze inkwell, probably Italian in origin, which was purchased by Sir Hans Sloane in 1725 (now in the British Museum).