shaped bowl with rattail attachment to a squared shaft,
the baluster shaped
finial attached with a V-joint,
prick-engraved (worn) TL over RH (?);
Excellent, without breaks or repairs; slight bend to finial;
good marks with rubbing only to the
mark details within the bowl;
wear appropriate to age;
prick-engraving on finial worn; traces of original
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.
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
dates 1589-1609. Benbowe had no apprentices of
so may have been an assistant working after freedom with his own mark,
first with his master and later with
The mark is fully discussed in London Silver
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,
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.