We have bought this beautiful piece of ceramic. We have no idea how it is supposed to be used beyond the obvious decorative purpose. Any idea?

enter image description here

It has an opening but we don't think it can be used as a salt (or pepper) shaker since the holes on the windows are too big and too close to the bottom.

enter image description here

  • Can you give us a sense of scale? could a small candle fit inside? Also, what information have you obscured? is it the name of the shop/address?
    – Catija
    Apr 1, 2017 at 15:16
  • A handful, something a little bigger than an adult fist. The diameter of the hole at the bottom is smaller than the tea light candles. Apr 1, 2017 at 15:23
  • Yes, the information was the name and address of the shop. Apr 1, 2017 at 15:24
  • Are you able to call the shop and ask? Often times that's the only option. Not that we don't welcome your question here! You're more than welcome to answer it yourself if you're able to figure out the answer.
    – Catija
    Apr 1, 2017 at 15:26
  • I thought of that. We have bought it from one of those places that people sell their old things and I am not sure the shop is still there. I'll try to call the shop and if there is any success post the answer :) Apr 1, 2017 at 15:34

3 Answers 3


It looks very much like a potpourri holder. It is certainly a lovely little piece. I would recommend that you look after it carefully, and make sure that it comes to no harm. The ceramicist appears to be Edith Rimington, of Flintshire, Wales, although I have not been able to find out anything about her on the Internet. This is a piece that may appreciate in value, but I would definitely keep it for its simple charm.

I think that we should avoid confusing Edith Rimington with the English surrealist artist, Edith Rimmington (1902 – 1986). I doubt if they are the same person.

  • Thank you. Tomorrow I try to call the shop and if I find any more information I post it here :) Apr 2, 2017 at 20:54
  • This makes sense. You are clearly supposed to put something it it but a candle does not make sense given the "plug" at the bottom.
    – Matt
    Apr 3, 2017 at 16:36

To me those holes look like something you would see in an incense holder. I used to have one made of terra cotta that looked like an adobe house, that I purchased on my very first trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I did a quick google search to see if I could find a picture of one like the one that I used to have, and instead I stumbled across the Incense Burner Virtual Museum website (http://www.kandaki.com/BP-Index.php?st=c&shp=Building). The one I used to have was similar to the fifth one down on the linked page.

But, looking at the other items on the page, there were two that specifically reminded me of your item: enter image description here

and this one: enter image description here

The Incense Burner Virtual Museum site describes the usages for each one--the top one is designed for use with a scented pastille, and the bottom one is supposed to be used with perfumed oil.

With that information, my next search took me to this Pinterest page called "Pastille Burners," which states that these items were "quite popular in aristocratic homes during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I." Make sure to go take a look at the page (https://www.pinterest.com/tlight2/pastille-burners/); many of the pieces shown remind me of yours.


It's a salt (or pepper) shaker. It has an opening on the bottom for filling, and the windows are the openings for shaking out the seasoning.

  • I wonder if the separate sets of "windows" are one set for salt and one for pepper, but that would be pretty complicated for such a simple (in a positive sense) shaker. I guess it would be possible to have two flll chambers under the bottom plug, but it would be hard to control which you are dispensing. I agree it's probaby just for salt.
    – user1798
    Apr 1, 2017 at 15:00
  • @abbie There is only one compartment. Apr 1, 2017 at 15:14
  • I think the holes are way too large to be a salt or pepper shaker
    – magerber
    Apr 7, 2017 at 19:45

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