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Spoon

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Arthur Hurst.

  • Museum number:

    M.279-1940

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is an example of a type of spoon described as a 'trefid' pattern, so-called after the way the end of the stem is split into three sections. The design is completely different to that of earlier spoons made in England, and is almost certainly inspired by contemporary examples from the Continent, particularly France. Goldsmiths' Company court minutes from the 1660s refer to 'French fashion spoons', which probably looked similar to this one. This new fashion meant the finial of the spoon was designed so that the spoon could be placed on the table with its open bowl down (the opposite of how it would be placed on the table today). This is why the initials of the original owner were engraved on what we would now think of as the back of the spoon. The date letter to indicate when this spoon was tested (or 'assayed') to determine the standard of its silver has worn away. However, the spoon displays two features typical of English spoons of the 1680s, namely a parallel, flat stem which widens near the top to form the trefid finial, and the small pips in the notches of the finial itself. The scroll pattern at the top of the rat-tail is rare among spoons of this type which survive today.

Physical description

Sterling silver spoon, trefid pattern with scroll decorated ribbed rat tail

Marks and inscriptions

On the back of the stem of the spoon, L to R from bowl:
maker's mark, indecipherable; crowned leopard's head, the mark of the London assay office; lion passant, mark for sterling silver standard; date letter worn away.

On back of finial: initials 'A I' pricked and scratched; these are only faintly visible as have been worn/erased.

Dimensions

Length: 13.5 cm, Weight: 19 g

Descriptive line

Spoon, silver, English (London), around 1680-1690 (date letter indecipherable); maker's mark indecipherable

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bradbury's book of hallmarks: a guide to marks of origin on English, Scottish and Irish silver, gold and platinum and on foreign imported silver and gold plate 1544 to 1992, Old Sheffield plate makers' marks, 1743-1860, originally compiled by Frederick Bradbury. New ed., rev. Sheffield: J.W. Northend Ltd., 1991. ISBN: 0901100285
Clayton, Michael. The Collector’s Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, 2nd edn, rev. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1985. ISBN 090746257X

Snodin, Michael. English Silver Spoons. London: Charles Letts, 1974. ISBN 850971101

Materials

Sterling silver

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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