Thomas Benbowe (Crescent Enclosing a Pierced Mullet), London, 1592
The fig shaped bowl with rattail attachment to a squared shaft, the baluster shaped finial attached with a V-joint,
the finial prick-engraved (worn) TL over RH (?); marks good to excellent
Condition: Excellent, without breaks or repairs; slight bend to finial; good marks with rubbing only to the London
mark details within the bowl; wear appropriate to age; prick-engraving on finial worn; traces of original gilding
Note: The mark of a crescent encompassing a mullet has been used by several makers, beginning is the 1550’s and into the
early 1600’s. It seems likely that the crescent enclosing a mullet that originated with Nicholas Bartholomew in 1551, later
becoming a workshop motif and was used by goldsmiths within the Bartholomew / Cawdell net. It seems highly likely that
Thomas Benbowe was its next proprietor, as he was apprenticed to Nicholas Bartholomew January 16, 1578-9, and would
have been made free about eight years later - so easily available for the mark, which has been recorded on many spoons with
dates 1589-1609. Benbowe had no apprentices of his own, so may have been an assistant working after freedom with his
own mark, first with his master and later with William Cawdell. The mark is fully discussed in London Silver Spoonmakers, 1
500-1697 (Timothy Kent). The a crescent encompassing a pierced mullet also occurs on seal top spoons (1590-1)
in the collection of The Armourers’ Company, London.
1592 was the year that Shakespeare left Stratford for London, the London population then about 200,000 people.
It was also the year that the Black Plague again struck London, closing shops and theatres until December 1593,
and killing 10,675 London residents.
6.25” Long / 1.2 oz.
Also See :
Probably Norwich or East Anglia, England
Unascribed, thrice marked with bird, c1570-80, the bowl verso with a later monogram
7.25" Long / 2.1 oz.
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Elizabeth I Silver Seal Top Spoon, Thomas Benbowe (Crescent Enclosing a Pierced Mullet), London, 1592