The use of potpourri was first recorded in 17th century France. Initially the mixture of sweet-smelling herbs and petals was kept in bowls of Chinese porcelain. By the middle of the 18th century potpourri bowls were also produced by European porcelain factories to meet the demand as their use spread throughout Europe.
The earliest Dutch potpourri holders were made of silver instead of porcelain, and from the outset the Dutch holders were executed in a characteristic shape which they kept throughout their existence. No less than ten out of sixteen known Dutch silver potpourri holders were made in the town of Zutphen and another five were made by silversmiths who had a direct connection with this town. The maker of the present holder is unique in having no known connection with Zutphen. (see Lian, Jeurissen, 'Zutphens Zilver' in: L. van Dijk (ed.), Glans langs de IJssel. Zilver uit Zutphen, Deventer, Zwolle en Kampen, Zwolle, 1999, p. 18 and J.R. ter Molen, op. cit., pp. 173-184.)