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Horn book

Horn book

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1705 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kedder, Thomas (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver

  • Museum number:

    M.2-1995

  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 65, The Whiteley Galleries, case 21

This horn book was a gift from Queen Anne (ruled 1702-1714) to her godson, Master Guy Selbright. His crest is engraved on the handle and the Queen's portrait medallion is on the back.

The horn book was an early learning tool for children, both rich and poor. This one is engraved with versions of the alphabet in both capital and lower-case letters and the Lord’s Prayer. Usually of wood, leather, bone, ivory, pewter or even gingerbread, horn books of silver were rare. Elizabeth I had one with a silver filigree frame.

Physical description

Of rectangular shape with an oblong handle in which a heart has been cut. On one side of the rectangular body are incised the letters of the alphabet in upper and lower case, the vowels and the Lord's Prayer. On the other side an attached portrait medallion of Queen Anne is surrounded by a hatched design of arrows within a border and in the centre with four stylised tulips.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1705 (made)

Artist/maker

Kedder, Thomas (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver

Marks and inscriptions

Mark of T K for Thomas Kedder.

Crest, inscribed and set with medallion

The handle of the horn book is engraved with the crest of Sebright. The front is inscribed with the alphabet, vowels, The Blessing and the Our Father Prayer. On the reverse side of the book is the applied medallion of Queen Anne as seen on the counter box bearing the mark of TK. (M.1-1995)

Town mark: London

Dimensions

Length: 12.6 cm, Width: 6.7 cm, Depth: 2 cm

Historical context note

Silver has long been associated with childhood. To be born 'with a silver spoon' has a literal meaning. Silver spoons with decorative finials - apostles, lions or as shown here, a child's head - were given as christening gifts. A gift of silver for a child was a store of wealth for the future. Nursery silver, pap boats, porringers, rattles and saucepans were used for their hygienic qualities.

Descriptive line

Silver, London, around 1703, mark of Thomas Kedder

Labels and date

HORN BOOK
London, around 1703
Mark of Thomas Kedder
From the 15th century, the horn book was an early learning tool for children, both rich and poor. Usually of wood, leather, bone, ivory, pewter or even gingerbread, horn books of silver were rare. Elizabeth 1 had one with a silver, filigree frame. This horn book was a gift from Queen Anne to her godson, Master Guy Selbright. His crest is engraved on the handle and the Queen's portrait medallion is on the back.
M.2-1995 [26/11/1996]

Materials

Silver

Techniques

Engraving

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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