The collection of salt cellars, including about 1000 exhibits, is considered one of the world’s most valuable collections of this type. The exhibition in the Castle features only the finest and most interesting historical objects from the Museum collection. Many of them represent top world class of applied arts. The collection includes sample works of goldsmith, ceramic and glass arts and items made from other materials, such as ivory, stone, mother of pearl. The collection of historical salt cellars is continually built up and the exhibition occupies now two rooms.
The Gothic salt cellar (year 1500)
The Gothic salt cellar in the form of a chalice, dated to about 1500 is a real rarity. It is the oldest salt cellar and also one of the most precious exhibits in the Museum collection. It is made from agate, an expensive ornamental stone. The decorative coloured and semi-transparent strips visible in the structure of stone are perfectly exposed in the form of this vessel that was designed both to serve salt and to be admired.
The silver salt cellars (years 1590-94)
The pair of silver salt cellars decorated with hunting scenes belong to clearly distinguished exhibits. They were manufactured in Augsburg in the years 1590-94. The cellars were included in the collection of baron Mayer de Rothschild hosted in his estate in English Mentmore in the 19th century.
The golden salt cellar
The exhibited objects include the first salt cellar made entirely from gold with an “E” monogram placed under a crown. The monogram is associated with Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1818–1893), the elder brother of Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.
Allegories of the Four Seasons centrepiece (year 1760)
It is one of the worlds’ biggest porcelain seasoning sets (a so-called plat-de-ménage) and one of its kind in Polish collections. It is a perfect example of a centrepiece – a decoration which appeared on European baroque tables in the second half of the 17th. The making place was a factory in Höchst (at present: Frankfurt-am-Main) – the second oldest porcelain factory in Germany. Distinguished by its perfect condition preserved, the set consists of a high decoration of table centre and four standalone figures with containers for spices, allegories of the four seasons.
Spice and lemon centerpiece (years 1773-75)
An impressive, second magnificent Rococo spice set (plats-de-ménage) manufactured from silver in Augsburg in the years 1773-75. It consists of carafes for vinegar and oil, containers for salt and dry spices and special holders for lemons. The fruit was considered a dainty in the Baroque period and used to flavour meals. Preserved good condition of the glass carafes is extremely exceptional. The object is 40 cm high and weighs more than 1 kg.
Travel set with a saltcellar
The newest object on exhibition – a gold-plated travel set (nécessaire) from the late 17th century, exceptionally preserved with its original case. Equipment of this type became popular in the 18th century. Augsburg was famous for their manufacture, as a centre of activity of numerous masters specializing in goldsmithing and production of large cases from leather, wood and expensive materials. The exhibited travel case is richly decorated on all sides. It is lined with red suede inside, and finished outside using embossed leather with gold-plated floral motifs.
Saltcellar with grotesques, from 1570
The saltcellars amazes with the unusual combination of antique and Christian motifs. In the decoration of the vessel you can find chimeras, sea monsters, winged Cupid but also Evangelists.
Majolic tableware were made to order for the most demanding patrons who appreciated the splendor of majolica from Urbino. The creators from Urbino gained the greatest fame in Europe, and their decorations tried not only to compete, but also to outperform the skill of ancient Greeks and Romans.
Tiffany Art Nouveau saltcellars
The described distinguished group of objects also includes beautiful Tiffany salt cellars, considered luxury items. Made from irisated glass with beautiful metallic glare, they are so light and delicate that a slight blow of wind could move them.