Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Spoon

  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1410-1440 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver; gold; enamel

  • Museum number:

    1392-1888

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery, case 3

Spoons are among the earliest domestic objects. As distinct from dishes or knives which were often shared, spoons were treasured individual possessions.This silver spoon is entirely covered with enamel in distinctive stripes of colour, inset with the repeated letters M and O in silver. Both may indicate the original identity of the owner, now unknown. The quality and material of this spoon suggest that it must have been the property of a person of rank and not intended for daily use.

Physical description

A spoon, of silver gilt and translucent enamel with highlights in gilt. The bowl decorated with a floriated pattern on a central band of white, to one side blue, the other green. The back decorated with a pattern of moon and stars and the initials 'M' and 'O' on a similarly coloured background. The handle bifaceted and in green enamel, decorated with stars and dots, and terminating in a fruit.

Place of Origin

Flanders (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1410-1440 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver; gold; enamel

Marks and inscriptions

'M' and 'O'
The letters 'M' and 'O' may be the initials of the owner, though neither the letters nor the colours of the enamel could be associated with a particular family.

Dimensions

Length: 17.4 cm, Width: 5 cm, Weight: 0.06 kg, Diameter: 2.2 cm

Object history note

Charles the Bold Exhibition RF.2006/635

Historical significance: Spoons are among the earliest domestic objects. As opposed to dishes or knives which were shared, spoons were treasured individual possessions. The quality and material of this spoon suggest that it must have been the property of a person of rank and not intended for daily use.
A nearly identical spoon, executed in translucent green and purple enamel, is part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Rogers Fund, 48.153.
The decoration of these two spoons is closely related to the so-called 'Regensburger Schatzkästchen' and comparable objects. Renate Eikelmann therefore suggested in 1992 that the three objects probably originated from the same workshop. Eikelmann favours a date around 1410/1420 and considers the entire group to be of Franco-Flemish origin.

Historical context note

The technique of enamel en ronde bosse, e.g. enamelling in the round or in high relief, is probably of French origin and was developed in the mid 1300s. This method of enamelling was only affordable to the highest ranks of society. There were several centres of production in the 15th century, including the Netherlands, the Rhineland and Venice.

Descriptive line

Enamelled silver spoon, decorated with foliage, stars and moon and letters 'O' and 'M'

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

Baumstark, Reinhold, ed. Schatzkammerstücke aus der Herbstzeit des Mittelalters. Das Regensburger Emailkästchen und sein Umkreis; text by Hans Peter Hilger et al.; Munich: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum; 1992, pp. 132-4, cat. no. 12. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich in 1992.
Campbell, Marian, An Introduction to Medieval Enamels, London: HMSO, 1983, p. 45
Speel, Erika. The Dictionary of Enamelling. History and Techniques. Hants: Ashgate, 1998, pp. 126-7, 145-6.
The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. A Dutton Visual Book. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, p. 273.
Charles le Téméraire. (1433-1477). Faste et Déclin de la cour de Bourgogne. Exhibition catalogue. Bruxelles: Fonds Mercator 2008, p. 289, cat. no. 113, ill. Catalogue text by Marian Campbell. Catalogue of the exhibition held Historisches Museum Bern and Bruggemuseum & Groenigemuseum Bruges 2008/2009.
Bagnoli, Martina. 'Spoon'. Catalogue entry in A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe, ed. Martina Bagnoli. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, October 16, 2016 - January 8, 2017 and at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, February 4 - April 30, 2017. Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum / New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. ISBN 9780300222951

Labels and date

SPOON
Silver-gilt with applied ornament embedded in translucent enamel
Italian (Venetian); 15th century []

Materials

Silver; Enamel; Gold

Techniques

Enamelling; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Stars; Moon; Foliage

Categories

Access to Images; Images Online

Collection

Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.