With its square box and its cover topped by the tall figure of a warrior, this salt box looks like a clock. A smaller example, certainly by the same artist, is known as the Wallace salt. The origin of the Wallace salt is not English but from mainland, probably brought in England during the grand tour of a Duke of Buckingham.
The design of the four legs in acanthus terminated with lion paws is French: this ornament is one of the innovations of Jacques Androuet du Cerceau around 1550. The catalog suggests for the great salt a date around 1560 and raises a doubt about the French or Flemish origine of the silver work.
The box and the lid include cartouches for lozenge enamels in basse taille. Chemical analyses show that the colors of the enamels are not recent and they may be dated to the early fourteenth century, certainly French. The lozenge was out of fashion in the ornamentation of the sixteenth century. The recovery of the two largest enamels has certainly inspired the entire constitution of the great salt as the two other sides of the box display carved gilt scenes similar in design.
Its iconography is mostly religious. The box was placed on the table with the householder. A server opened it and laid the salt on the bread that was offered to the guests for the benedicite. Smaller salt vessels could also be spread on the table.