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    Sale 5369

    Christie's Interiors - Oak Edition

    4 November 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 277

    A HENRY VIII SILVER MAIDENHEAD SPOON

    MAKER'S MARK INDISTINCT, LONDON, 1532

    Price Realised  

    A HENRY VIII SILVER MAIDENHEAD SPOON
    MAKER'S MARK INDISTINCT, LONDON, 1532
    6 3/8 in. (16 cm.) long
    .5 oz. (15 gr.)


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    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage


    Provenance

    Christie's, London, 20 April 1999, lot 48


    Pre-Lot Text

    The majority of early English silver was melted down to raise funds for military campaigns such as the Civil War. Plate was also traded-in for items in a newer style, often to distance the owners from their religious affiliations in troubled times. Relative to the small surviving amount 16th and 17th century plate, quite a few early spoons continue to exist. Due to their more practical purpose, spoons did not attract the same degree of economic interest as larger showpieces and were less likely to be traded for more recent designs.

    Seal top spoons are a common design of these early spoons, and were made from the 15th to the 17th century. Often given as marriage or christening gifts, the tops of the spoons were usually engraved with the initials of the donor, child or married couple and the date.

    The style of English spoons changed more rapidly during the mid-17th century. Trefid spoons were first known as "French fashion spoons" or "pied-de-biche" due to their distinctive shape, and were introduced by Charles II and his court in 1660. At the turn of the century, the trefid terminal evolved into the "dog nose" or wavy end spoon. The terminals of wavy end spoons retain a similar shape to the trefid spoons but lack the distinctive notches. The Queen Anne trefid/wavy end spoon below is evidence of this transition -- the terminal is dognose in shape but has been scored twice as a nod to the earlier style.

    In today's market, the prices of early English silver remain strong. Whether they are seal top, trefid or wavy end examples, collecting early spoons has become an affordable way to own a piece of English history.