Cruet for oil and vinegar
Designer / Maker
Designed by Dr Christopher Dresser (1834-1904)
Manufactured by Elkington & Co. (1824-1968)
Electroplated nickel silver
17 x 17 cm
Designed 19th June 1885
English (Birmingham), 1924
Pattern number 18309 and scratched marks, marks for Elkington & Co. and date letter for 1924 (see below)
Michael Whiteway, Christopher Dresser 1834-1904, Milan, 2001, no.201 (for an identical example; no date noted)
Didier; English private collection
An identical cruet supplied to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway , and dated 1904, is on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The fact that the V&A example was made in 1904, twenty-three years after the original design, and our example in 1924, suggest that this model may have been one of Dresser’s more successful commercial creations.
The V&A website notes:
“Two small circular trays attached by two horizontal pieces of metal from which a T-shaped handle protrudes. Engraved ‘LMS STEAMERS’ for the London, Midland and Scottish Railway formed in 1923 which ran steamer services to Ireland, Isle of Man and in the Clyde. Many of the smaller railway companies were amalgamated into larger operating units after the First World War. The cruet frame may have been used on a railway steamer from 1904 and re-engraved with the new company’s initials. A very similar design for a cruet in the Elkington pattern books, with three condiment trays, is labelled “Dresser, June 9th 1885.”
The glass bottles are here a modern replacement.