JAMES I PROVINCIAL SILVER-GILT SEAL TOP SPOON
Bristol, England, c1610
Marks : Fleur-de-lys and 4 pellets in circular punch to the bowl interior;
Two 5-petaled roses siding a reversed incuse R on the shaft
The fig shaped bowl with remains of gilt to the interior, marked with a fleur-de-lys and 4 pellets in circular punch (unbeaded)
(see Jackson's Revised, top of p. 523, for the mark on an earlier spoon);
the tapering hexagonal shaft notched at the bowl, marked with a reverse incuse R sided by 2 5-petaled roses
(see Jackson's Revised, bottom p. 524 for the mark on an earlier spoon;
the reverse incuse R associated with Bristol (see p. 308, Jackson's Revised for the mark on an earlier cup,
and with the five petaled rose, both in circular punches, on a c1620 seal-top spoon);
the fluted baluster seal top attached with a provincial lap joint,
the finial top with remains of gilt and prick-engraved with “1612”, and other worn now-illegible letters;
formerly with catalog/collection number bowl painted verso : 35.37 (numbers came off in polishing)
Condition : Excellent; lap joint clearly visible; excellent marks; slight bend to the seal terminal
Much discussion exists about the use of the fleur de lys in early British silver marking.
It is often associated with East Anglia, in particular Bury St. Edmunds, where it remained
the sign over the workshop of the principal Bury St. Edmunds for over 100 years.
Because of the change to a lower grade for silver coinage ordered by Henry VIII in 1544,
many English goldsmiths began using French coinage to produce their wares.
The fleur de lys therefore could refer to purity as well as town or area.
However, most East Anglian spoons referenced had a slightly different fleur de lys shown.
See below for Jackson's Revised marks, "Wales and Unascribed English Provincial",
as shown on earlier seal top spoons.
Although Bristol is known to have been making silver with "divers touches" since 1423, few pieces with
definitely attributable Bristol marks remain. "A number of spoons of the 17th century are struck in the
bowl with conjoined BR and on the stem with either a star or 5-petaled flower mark." (Jackson's p. 307),
hence the Bristol attribution for this spoon.
6-3/8" Long / 1.4 oz.
(Images are large format for viewing purposes)
Approximate Same Size Image at 6-3/8" Long
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