Would you fill my perfume bottle Mr Dove?

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This perfume bottle from the Cheapside Hoard, so named after the area it was found in, is on display at the Museum of London. Roja Dove was asked by the museum to create a perfume for the bottle that recalled Elizabethan and Early Stuart London.

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At the museum you can view the perfume bottle through a specially made aperture. While viewing the the bottle, the scent wafts out from a sea sponge in a panel inside the aperture.

The perfume bottle is set with gold, enamel, rubies, pink sapphires, and opals. The chain would have attached the bottle to a girdle or necklace. Also on display are 499 items of jewelry which were dug out of the ground in an old cellar in 1912. Stolen loot? A jeweler’s stash? Nobody knows. This is first time that The Cheapside Hoard has been publicly displayed. The exhibition is on now until 27 April 2014.

On Mr Dove’s website he says…

The idea that scent can re-connect moments in time with one drop and one breath utterly captivates me. The result of blending the intoxicating fragrance of tonka bean with that of rose and lavender and rich spices has formed an extremely distinctive, spicy and warm creation fit for the dazzling treasure trove that is the Cheapside Hoard.

I love the idea that London was such an important port of entry for exotic goods arriving from every corner of the known world. Spices, musk and ambergris, would have joined exotic materials such as frankincense and myrrh, and the much loved benzoin, often referred to as benjamin at this time, with its soft rounded vanilla odour. These richly scented materials were far removed from the puritan smell of lavender or the foul stench of the streets and unwashed bodies. Perfume showed your position in society. Perfume defined status.

To begin with, it was essential for me to concentrate on the tastes and attitudes towards perfume at this time. The only two scented floral materials indigenous to Britain were – and still are – lavender and rose, which were often joined with oils from various herbs.

Throughout 17th Century England, scented powders were used in the hair, whilst floral waters were liberally doused on the skin to counteract bodily odour and some of the more unpleasant smells prevalent at the time. Complex fragrances also came into play at this time, continuing a trend made popular during the reign of Elizabeth I – who was herself a great perfume lover.

Roja Dove

Notes
Ambergris, Beeswax, Benzoin, Cedarwood, Civet, Clove, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Patchouli, Rose, Sage, Spices, Tonka Bean

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Strangely, bags, coats and laptops are not permitted within the Cheapside Hoard exhibition.

Further Information
Museum of London
Roja Dove

9 responses to “Would you fill my perfume bottle Mr Dove?

  1. Maybe Mr. Dove will have a little sample with him when he visits Dubai this week.🙂 Another good topic for me to talk to him about thanks!

    • Looking forward to your report Dubaiscents. This ‘fume will not be released as it was commissioned just for the scentscape for the exhibition. Chances are though that Mr Dove would carry a sample for you to enjoy a sniff back to Jacobean times.

      The update from Le Labo is that a Le Labo boutique will open in Dubai. Watch out for Cuir 28 wafting on the winds of change.

  2. What a story, what a bottle! I loved every bit of this. That said, I don’t think I would enjoy actual 17th Century scents very much, even apart from their inherent limitations. Thank heavens for progress!

    Going back to the Cheapside Hoard, the first thing that came to my mind is that it was the remnants of Jacobean treasure hidden away by supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie after the failed coup and while they attempted to regroup after the deadly battle of Culloden. If you’re ever interested in stories of lost treasure, you should look up the Jacobean Gold. I would bet this was one of the many different caches of jeweled loot spirited about all over the country by the rebels.

    • Aha, an historian with pertinent information. Thank you Kafka. I kept calling this a haul rather than a hoard. I am off to dig up some web treasure. Hoping that there will be replicas made of this bottle to be sold. It is actually very tiny as you can see in this photo via Mr Dove’s news page:

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  3. An exquisite bottle and wonderful story. I do like the added information by Kafkaesque that it may be part of the Jacobean Gold.

  4. Pingback: Scent & Subversion by Barbara Herman: NEW BOOK REVIEW « AustralianPerfumeJunkies·

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