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Twelve dessert spoons

Silver

Origin: London

Date: 1706-1707

18 and 17.1 cm length; 45 g average weight of 11, one 38 g weight

Marks/Maker: London, Britannia standard, eleven 1706-7, maker's mark of Henry Greene, one with indistinct date letter and maker's mark of Joseph Barbut

Heraldry: Crest of North, the other, unidentified (late eighteenth century)

Bequeathed by W.F. Farrer, 1946; WA1946.151

T. Schroder (2009), no. 388

This set is an early example of spoons in a smaller size than most and made specifically for dessert. The so-called 'dog-nose' pattern (because of the shape of the handle) was the standard design for flatware between about 1700 and 1715. Up until the middle of the eighteenth century spoons and forks were placed with bowl and prong face down on the table, accounting for the original crest being engraved on the back.

Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)

Fork: The fork first arrived in Italy from Byzantium in the eleventh century and was in regular use there by the fifteenth century. It was a while before the fork was accepted elsewhere in Europe. In 1518, Martin Luther amusingly quipped, ‘God preserve me from the little forks’! It finally came into common use in the seventeenth century, where it developed from the two-pronged type to one of three or four prongs, demonstrating its transition from carving or serving fork to one used for eating.

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