While I was in the U.K. on my recent trip, 
one of the things I did was to visit museums, 
castles, art galleries and stately homes. 
There was a reason beyond just enjoyment: 
background research for my novels. 
Today this photo I took of a salt cellar 
became the inspiration for a section 
in the chapter I am presently writing 
of Book 3 of The Forsaken Lands.
(Yep, you read that right: salt cellar)
Called the Burghley Nef, it was crafted in France 
in the early part of the 16th century. 

It’s now in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. 
Made from a nautilus shell and gilded silver,
 it’s more than 40 cm high. 
Yep, rather large for a salt cellar! 
The salt was put in a dish on the deck, 
and the whole thing placed in front of 
an honoured guest… 



  1. I've seen a picture of this before somewhere. Hell of a way to serve salt isn't it. I shall be interested to see how you use it in your story. Of course salt once had a greater importance than it does today and people were seated above and below the salt according to their status.

  2. Seeing as salt is so common, it has always surprised me how precious it used to be! I've been down saltmines in Austria and Poland. Here in Western Autralia, we have natural salt pans everywhere…

  3. There is a huge salt mine in Sussex, England, beneath the Downs. Knew nothing about it until recently when we saw a programme about that and several other features of the area.

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