Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sallam, Robert (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved silver

  • Credit Line:

    Given by R. A. Kirby

  • Museum number:


  • 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.

Spoons were made by specialist goldsmiths, but often supplied as part of a tea equipage, or service. 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. Full sets of matching spoons from before the 1740s very rarely survive.

Design & Designing
Spoons in the 18th century were generally placed on the table with the face downwards. The back of the stem or of the bowl could therefore be used for decoration. The first examples, in the 1730s, were decorated with a shell. After the mid-18th century, motifs such as flowers, farmyard scenes, animals and crowns began to be seen. The back of this spoon is decorated with flowers. Decorated spoons such as this are often called 'picture-back' or 'fancy-back'.

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)


ca. 1750 (made)


Sallam, Robert (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Engraved silver

Marks and inscriptions

Cast on the back of the bowl with a spray of flowers and leaves, engraved with the initials 'F.F.A.'


Width: 2.4 cm, Length: 12 cm

Object history note

Possibly made in London by Robert Sallam (working from 1749)

Labels and date

British Galleries:

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. []


Tableware & cutlery


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.