Spoon

1670–83
John Hull (American (born in England), 1624–1683), Robert Sanderson, Sr. (American (born in England), 1608–1693)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts

Dimensions

3.9 x 11.5 cm (1 9/16 x 4 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

1983.134

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Brown-Pearl Hall (Gallery LG35)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver flatware

The small spoon has a flat worn stem, rectangular in section, and a V-shaped drop on the back of a fig-shaped bowl; it terminates in a rounded tip. Numerous dents appear on the bowl; the handle is uneven. A horizontal break cuts across the bowl from proper right; a small secondary crack appears at center.


A rare survival, this variant of the slip-end spoon is one of a group made during the early partnership of Hull and Sanderson. It is one of four spoons, each having a rectangular or otherwise faceted handle. Two of the spoons have an oblique slant at the tip, described in seventeenth-century records as being “slipped in les stalkes,” and one has a blunter, so-called Puritan-style end, in contrast to the bulbous tip on the Museum’s example. This spoon is about two inches shorter than the others, indicating that it may have been for a child.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.

Inscription

Initials, "MV" or "MY" engraved close to the very tip of the handle.

Markings

Inside the bowl is Hull's touch "IH" over a fleur-de-lys, both within a heart-shaped device. On back of the spoon stem is a worn mark "RS," possibly the lower portion of Robert Sanderson's (1608-1893) mark of "RS" with a rosette above, both in a conforming punch.

Provenance

Maria Clark (b. about 1840) of South Boston and her husband, Henry Greene; By descent to to their son Frederick Greene; thence to his niece Florence A. Bessey (1906 – 1997) of Maine; 1983, sold by Florence Bessey to the MFA. (Accession date: Feb 9 1983)

Credit Line

Gift of the Wunsch Foundation in Recognition of Kathryn C. Buhler