strainer spoon thumbnail 1
strainer spoon thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Silver, Room 65, The Whiteley Galleries

strainer spoon

Mote Spoon
1774-1780 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The point on the end of the spoon handle was designed to remove blocked tea leaves from the spout of a teapot. The function of the pierced bowl, however, has been debated by historians. It may have been used to remove tea leaves from tea after it had been served, hence the name 'strainer' or 'mote' (a speck of dust) spoon. Other writers have suggested that the pierced holes in the bowl were designed to separate unwanted dust from tea leaves as they were scooped out of the caddy.


Object details
Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silver
Brief description
Mote spoon, silver, English (London), no hallmarks, around 1774, mark of George Smith III.
Physical description
Mote spoon, pierced bowl and pointed finial, from a tea set
Dimensions
  • From finial to tip of bowl length: 14cm
  • Across centre of bowl; maximum width: 2.5cm
  • Weight: 11.3g
Marks and inscriptions
  • S Herbert & Co.
  • Town mark: London
Credit line
Given by Noel D. Sprague, Esq., through Art Fund
Object history
This mote spoon was presented to the Museum through the National Art Collections Fund in 1945 by Noel D Sprague, Esq. (see the Acquisition registered file 45 / 452).
Summary
The point on the end of the spoon handle was designed to remove blocked tea leaves from the spout of a teapot. The function of the pierced bowl, however, has been debated by historians. It may have been used to remove tea leaves from tea after it had been served, hence the name 'strainer' or 'mote' (a speck of dust) spoon. Other writers have suggested that the pierced holes in the bowl were designed to separate unwanted dust from tea leaves as they were scooped out of the caddy.
Associated objects
Bibliographic references
  • Grimwade, Arthur G.. London Goldsmiths 1697-1837. Their Marks and Lives. 1st edn. London: Faber and Faber, 1976.
  • Pickford, Ian. Silver Flatware. English, Irish and Scottish 1660-1980. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1983. ISBN 0907462359
Collection
Accession number
M.24C-1945

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Record createdSeptember 10, 2004
Record URL
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