An unusual 18th century pear-shaped pommander with whistle, probably German.

circa 1720
2 1/2 in, (6.3 cm)

The main body textured to resemble basket weave and unscrews into 5 parts, the uppermost pierced for use as a shaker and with suspension ring at the top. The mouthpiece of the whistle with fluted band.

750 GBP

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Pommanders have always been popular with collectors and it is easy to see why. Many contain a multitude of sections and owing to the superb engineering of the screw threads many of these sections are virtually invisible to the naked eye. The earliest ones that occasionally appear on the market are those of near spherical shape with 6 or sometimes 8 hinged compartments for different scents or spices. Although around for several centuries they are generally not seen till the late 16th century through to about 1630. A variety of forms then ensued some shaped as apples, some as skulls and some of tubular form. The latter was developed in Germany in the early 18th century with great ingenuity not only for use as pommanders but as travelling penners (see Robin Butler, The Albert Collection, page 296, no.153) and sewing etuis. These German examples frequently had a number of small compartments that unscrewed and are often characterised by a basket-weave or tightly waved surface.

This is the first one we have had with a whistle. The pear-shaped body unscrews into 5 different sections, the top one pierced for sprinkling a particular spice. They are very seldom marked but are delightful and well made objects.