M. FORD CREECH ANTIQUES & FINE ARTS
PAIR OF CHARLES II SILVER LACE FRONT & BACK TREFID SPOONS
Robert King, London, 1678
Each ovoid bowl with a ribbed rat tail sided by foliate scroll decoration,
the shaped trefid upturned terminals with foliate scroll decoration to the front and down the upper part of the shafts;
very good marks verso
Robert King, London silversmith, apprenticed to Tobias Coleman in the Girdlers Company, free by service in 1655.
There are no records, however it's likely that Robert was bound during the Civil War period,
when there was a high demand for sword belts and other military paraphernalia.
These wares formed part of the girdler's trade, also bound by the Ordinances of the Goldsmiths Company.
Robert, and his brothers John, Adam, and Thomas King were members of a Bremhill, Wiltshire, family of silversmiths.
Robert also bound 3 apprentices including Francis Garthorne, who became a leading platemaker
and was appointed a subordinate goldsmith within the Jewel House.
His brother John is credited with making the two earliest known trefid spoons, one in 1662, and a pair in 1664.
The pair sold at auction in 2016 for £5,600.
A silver trefid spoon by Robert King, 1671-2, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, NYC.
Condition : Both in good condition with less than normal wear to the decoration,
the high points showing some softness to detail; one with small nick to the bowl; marks to each very good;
there is no tracery of either the removal or earlier engraving,
with patination consistent to the remainder of the surface
7.5” long / 3.1 oz.
Enlarged detail of bowl verso, left
Enlarged detail of Bowl Verso, Right
Marks for left example
Mark for right example
Terminal Front Left & Terminal Front Right
A Note of Interest Regarding Early Trefid Spoons :
Until c1660, the spoons in use were generally seal tops, slip tops, and apostle and the like.
These had either fig-shaped and oval bowls which were set with a small rattail on shaped shafts.
They were also marked differently, with the town mark generally in the bowl rather than on the stem
When Charles II returned from France, he brought with him some of the French fashions, including eating utensils.
Below is a description of some of the changes that took place with the introduction of "new" spoon.
All available evidence supports that the trefid (or French forked spoon)
was introduced at the Restoration of the Monarchy in this, its fully-developed form.
These spoons feature an oval bowl with level edges, the bowl being set just below the level of the stem,
with a fully-developed decorative rat-tail down the back of the bowl.
The end of the Trefid top is upturned.
Trefids show many variations in form - particularly provincial examples, and many have bowls of an earlier form
without a rat-tail and with the Town Mark punched in the bowl.
Similar variations on London spoons of normal size are almost non-existent.
Also See A Spoon by Adam King :
William & Mary Silver Sucket Spoon, Adam King, London, 1691
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Pair Charles II Silver Lace Front & Back Trefid Spoons, Robert King, London, 1678
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