Contingent of unrecorded castle-tops uncovered in the Cotswolds

Contingent of unrecorded castle-tops uncovered in the Cotswolds

01/11/2023     General News, Latest News

Three much sought-after castle-top vinaigrettes are set to be among the most hotly contested lots in Cotswold auctioneers, Kinghams, upcoming Silver & Objects of Vertu sale on Friday 24thNovember.

According to associate director and head of department, Matthew Lafite, “The collecting field centred on vinaigrettes is well recognised as is the specialism of castle-top collecting. Given this, the varying scenes which can adorn vinaigrettes or card cases can become easily recognisable – however, the three scenes discovered recently did give me pause for thought!”

The first example depicts a scene of Folkestone Harbour, Kent. The scene is probably after the illustrated engraving from ‘Marshall’s Select Views in Great Britain’, 1825.

Another has a top engraved with a scene of Norwich quayside, with boats on the river Wensum and Whitefriars bridge in the background.

The final example is engraved with a scene of the Salon on the promenade at Scarborough, with flag flying and the headland with Scarborough Castle beyond.


During the second quarter of the nineteenth century, with the advent of the railways and increased mobility, especially for those who could afford to do so, the practice of returning home with a souvenir of the place you had visited became very popular. And one such souvenir for the well-heeled was a vinaigrette made from sterling silver.


The three examples are thought to have been almost previously unrecorded and such is their rarity, much effort was required to identify the specific scenes. Mr Lafite explains, “Nineteenth-century castle-tops survive in relatively good numbers now and some of the common scenes one encounters include Windsor Castle, Kenilworth and Abbotsford. However, the three scenes here, I must admit, I had never seen in twenty years of dealing with silver. I must have seen thousands of vinaigrettes and none quite like these before.”


The three castle top vinaigrettes are estimated at £800-1200 each, in Kinghams Auctioneers' upcoming Silver & Objects of Vertu sale on November 24th. For all enquiries, please contact Matthew Lafite at the Moreton-in-Marsh saleroom on 01608695695 or email