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Teaspoon

Teaspoon

  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gale, John (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J. H. Fitzhenry

  • Museum number:

    1118-1902

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 52b, case 1

Object Type
Tea was imported into Britain from the early 17th century, but became fashionable only after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Catherine of Braganza, Charles's Portuguese wife, had a particular passion for tea and did much to popularise it. Tea was originally drunk in the Chinese manner, weak and without milk, but by the early 18th century sugar and milk were added and small spoons became necessary.

Trading
Spoons were made by specialist goldsmiths, but often supplied as part of a tea service. For example, a set made by Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) in 1735 includes 12 tea spoons, a pair of sugar nippers, a strainer spoon, three canisters for black tea, green tea and sugar, and a cream jug. Very few full sets of matching spoons made before the 1740s are known today.

Social Usage
Tea spoons were part of the ritual of the tea table. They could be used to signal to the hostess when the guest had drunk his fill. In 1782 the Prince of Broglie reported that 'I partook of the most excellent tea and I should be even now still drinking it, I believe, if the Ambassador had not charitably notified me at the twelfth cup that I must put my spoon across it when I wished to finish with this sort of warm water'.

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1750 (made)

Artist/maker

Gale, John (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver

Dimensions

Width: 2.4 cm, Length: 12 cm

Object history note

Possibly made in London by John Gale (active from 1721)

Descriptive line

Cutlery and flatware

Labels and date

British Galleries:
TEASPOONS

Spoon-making was a specialist branch of goldsmithing. The design of spoons for specific uses, such as these silver teaspoons, began in the late 17th century. Until about 1750, tables were laid with the reverse of the spoon uppermost, so that decoration on the back would be prominently displayed. [27/03/2003]

Categories

Metalwork; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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