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Country Life's 'Pick of the Year' for 2020...

19th January 2021

This perfect pomander was chosen to be Country Life’s `Pick of the Year` for 2020. Skilfully made, a Dutch or German pomander, c.1600-1630, was once carried to ward off airborne disease. “Its chilling significance in 2021 sadly needs no emphasis,” observes Lawrences’ silver specialist, Alex Butcher. “Such pomanders were filled with strong-smelling products such as civet, musk, laudanaum and ambergris. This last substance was derived from the bile of the sperm whale. Unpleasant as that sounds, its fragrance was the foundation in perfume-making for centuries and the French `pomme d’ambre` gives the pomander its name. Our example opened like a segmented orange and each little compartment could hold differently blended scents. It had once been owned by the noted Welsh apothecary, polymath and collector, Robert Drane (1833-1914). It had been made by an unknown silversmith with great skill and care and, despite its fragility, it was still in extremely fine condition after 400 years. This little gem was just under 6cm high and it was contested to £12,350.” 

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