Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Dish on Spoons

With Mother's Day around the corner I'm drawn to looking at silver and china - which are my own Mother's favorite things outside of her Cavalier King Charles, Bailey. When she spots a glorious find, my Mom has always said, "Tools seperate us from the animals." Quite right! I've focused on spoons, both old and repurposed and learned quite a bit. Collecting spoons seems like a little less intimidating of an area than others for those who might be considering a new hobby. Here's just a sample of what's out there.
Fun gifts for the gardener and more available at Monkeys Always Look.
From Strip of Metal to Finished Spoon: From left to right, these six stages show the principal steps followed by Early American silversmiths in spoonmaking. It started with the strip of rolled silver at the left. Next, shaping of the bowl and handle was started and continued through three stages. Then with a punch and die the bowl was "struck up" that is, made concave and the handle was given its proper curve. After this, the edges were smoothed with files and the spoon carefully polished with burnishing tools. This set of steps follows the design of a Paul Revere spoon made about 1770. Click here for more at Collector's Weekly.
Marrow Spoons & Scoops: Roasted bone marrow was considered a great delicacy in the Queen Anne period (1702-1714) , when meat was quite expensive. To accommodate the extraction of the marrow from the bone centers, silver spoons with a long narrow scoop at one end were used, the earliest on record c1690. These marrow spoons were quickly superseded by marrow scoops, which had a large scoop at one end, and small scoop at the other - suitable to differing widths of bone. Scoops were made only until the late 19th century. Although roasted bone marrow has gone out of style, there is a resurgence of interest with pot au feu, a now-fashionable main course dish using beef shanks, short ribs, and marrow bones - the marrow bones being passed at the table with warm bread. Those of you in the Southern United States can also employ marrow scoops in the enjoyment of the center of pork-chop bones, which we so love.

Magnificent pair of Arts and Crafts spoons by Sibyl Dunlop, one of the leading female practitioners of the Arts and Crafts movement. The spoons are in the shape and style of 16th century spoons, with fig shaped bowl, hexagonal stem and shaped finials. The spoons are cast, with hand hammered bowls, and have a cast finial that resembles a pineapple with scrolls on either side, resting on 3 rings. A furrow runs down the front end of the shaft of each spoon. These spoons are very good quality, with pleasing weight, lovely to hold and use. The hallmarks on both spoons are very clear, including the SD makers mark. Dunlop (1889-1968) was born in Scotland, trained as a jewellery designer in Brussels, and opened a shop in Kensington Street, London. She specialised in Arts and Crafts silver and jewellery, often naturalistic in style.

Considered Roman Britain, 4th century ADFound in Mildenhall, Suffolk. Three spoons have foliate decoration. Another three bear the only overt Christian symbols in the hoard, the Greek letters chi and rho, the first letters of Christ's name, flanked by alpha and omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, another symbol of Christ - 'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last' (Revelation 1:8)). The remaining two spoons have personal names (Papittedo and Pascentia) with the word vivas ('may you live'), a good-luck formula frequently used in late-Roman times, often by Christians.
Spoons for the herb garden coutesy of Oh Joy!
This is a set of four silver teaspoons and a larger spoon made in Italy in the first half of 19th century.

1 comment:

  1. brilliant post! Thankyou! I love silver and I love flatware. And I love looking at old flatware catalogs with their beautiful engavings. And I love the HIGHLY specialized functions you can find in the old catalogs--like marrow spoons! Something I had no idea i needed