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.
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.
Ambergris, Beeswax, Benzoin, Cedarwood, Civet, Clove, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Patchouli, Rose, Sage, Spices, Tonka Bean
Strangely, bags, coats and laptops are not permitted within the Cheapside Hoard exhibition.