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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Johann Hass (active 1621-1650)

The Exeter Salt (The Salt of State) c.1630

RCIN 31772

Jewel House, Jewel House

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For many years this salt was thought to be a model of the White Tower (part of the Tower of London). It is, in fact, the only surviving work of the Hamburg goldsmith Johann Hass. The salt was presented to Charles II on his Restoration by the Parliamentarian stronghold of Exeter, as a gift of propitiation. It was probably supplied by Richard Bradshaw, Resident in Hamburg, who undertook a failed embassy to Moscow on behalf of the Commonwealth in 1658, and acquired a number of gifts for the embassy. When the mission failed, he returned the items to London, where they were purchased by the royal goldsmith, Thomas Vyner. The jewelled mounts were added by Vyner in time for Charles II’s coronation banquet in 1661. The salt has become known as the Salt of State and has been used at all coronations since that date. The windows of the salt were enamelled in 1821 for the coronation banquet of George IV.