- Place of origin:
- Credit Line:
Given by H. Vanderpump
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Although made in London, this mid-eighteenth century spoon is French in style. The form of the finial, referred to as a 'fiddle pattern' and the marked drop at the back of the spoon where the stem meets the bowl are characteristic of French flatware and were still unusual in England in the 1740s. The maker's mark is probably that of John Barbe, a London goldsmith who registered his first mark as a maker of large objects (a 'largeworker') at the Goldsmiths' Hall in 1735. Barbe was an immigrant French Huguenot, and was still active as a plateworker in 1773. When the spoon was presented to the V&A it was thought to be from the workshop of 'J. Barbitt'. 'Barbitt' has now been correctly identified as Joseph Barbut, recorded as a goldsmith of large objects (a 'largeworker') in October 1703, and still active in 1739. Although Barbut's surviving pieces suggest he was a specialist spoon and forkmaker, and he would have been active when this spoon was made, his mark does not resemble the one on this spoon.
Silver (sterling standard), fiddle pattern with reeded edge. Both sides of the edge of the spoon fiddle end have been ground away.
Place of Origin
Marks and inscriptions
On back of stem, L to R from bowl:
Lion passant, mark for sterling standard silver; mark 'JB', possibly for maker John Barbe (Grimwade 1178); leopard's head crowned, the mark of the London assay office; letter 'e', for the assay year 1740-41.
Initial 'M' surmounted by a ducal coronet engraved on the reverse of the finial.
Length: 19.5 cm Finial to tip of bowl, Weight: 61 g
Object history note
A note in the register states that 'the donor had bought a dozen of each [ie. spoons and forks] so that it would appear that they had been made in order to make up the size of a French set and not merely to replace casual losses from one'. The finial has been ground down on both sides and there is an unidentified initial 'M' surmounted by a ducal coronet on the reverse of the finial. Nothing otherwise is known about the history of this spoon.
Silver, English, London, 1740-1741, maker's mark possibly that of John Barbe
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Grimwade, Arthur G.. London Goldsmiths 1697-1837: Their Marks and Lives. 1st edn. London: Faber and Faber, 1976.
Snodin, Michael. English Silver Spoons. London: Charles Letts, 1974. ISBN 850971101
Pickford, Ian. Silver Flatware. English, Irish and Scottish 1660-1980. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1983. ISBN 0907462359