Tablespoon (one of three)

about 1690
John Coney (American, 1655 or 1656–1722)


Overall: 4.5 x 18.8 cm (1 3/4 x 7 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Burton A. Cleaves Gallery (Gallery LG27)




Silver flatware

Trifid-handled spoon with slightly upturned handle has a swaged scroll and beaded design at handle tip. Back of elliptical bowl has a bilaterally symmetrical scroll and foliate ornament that surrounds slender, ribbed rattail.

These are among at least five trifid-handled spoons made by Coney for the Shrimpton family; all bear foliated bowl and scrolled handle decoration. Kathryn C. Buhler believed that the presence of an obliterated heart-shaped mark on a Coney spoon in the Yale collection pointed to the use of an English model cast by Coney. Certainly many spoons in this style were brought to this country through trade or immigration, whereas others were made here using English or colonial-made swages. An example of imported swages may be inferred from the “plaine and flower’d Spoon Swages” noted in the 1718 shop inventory of Edward Webb; these were probably brought here by the silversmith in 1704 upon his emigration from London. Other Boston makers who produced trifid-handled spoons with similar bowls include Jeremiah Dummer, John Edwards, and Edward Winslow.

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.


"MS" in shaded roman letters engraved on back of handle; "H / I * E," in a similar lettering style, added later above the former, at tip of handle.


Marked on back of handle with "IC" over a fleur-de-lys, both within a shaped heart.


Mary Shrimpton (1667 – 1746) of Salem m. 1692 Robert Gibbs (1665 – 1702); by descent to her daughter Mary Gibbs (1699 – 1761), m. the Rev. John Cotton (1693 – 1757) in 1719; to their daughter Elizabeth Cotton (1722 – 1782), who in 1750 m. Jonathan Hastings (1708/9 – 1783); to John Hastings (1754 – 1839) and Lydia Trowbridge Dana (1755 – 1808), m. 1783, to their son Edmund Trowbridge Hastings (1789-1861) and Elizabeth Spring m 1815; to their daughter Harriet Elizabeth Hastings (1818-1887) and John Bryant Hatch (1817-1890) m 1841; to their son Geroge Stanley Hatch (1855-1931) and Mary Kidder Whiting (b 1861), m 1891; jointly to their son Francis Whiting Hatch (1897-1975) m. 1922 Katherine Marjory Kennard, and daughter Harriet Hastings Hatch (1892-1979) m. Oakes Ames; to their children Francis Whiting Hatch Jr (b 1925), Oakes Ames (b. 1926) and Geroge Ames (b. 1929); 2001, transferred to Mr. Oakes Ames; 2001, gift of Mr. Ames to the MFA. (Accession date: Dec 12, 2001)

Credit Line

Gift in memory of Mrs. Oakes I. Ames