An Edwardian silver Copy of a famous early Spoon: St. Nicholas.
A reproduction silver Spoon, marked by Herbert Lambert for Lambert’s of Coventry street, London, 1903. This spoon is a copy of the most famous early spoon of the day, sold as part of the fabulous collection of John Dunn-Gardner of Soham by Christie’s on the 29th and 30th of April 1902. The spoon was lot 239: ‘A Henry VII Spoon, partly gilt, the stem of flattened hexagonal section, inscribed “Synt Nycolas Pray for WS”, surmounted by the figure of Sanint Nicholas restoring the children to life – London hall-mark for the year 1488, and bearing for the maker’s mark the sacred initials and cross.’
The Daily Telegraph’s report of the sale included the following: ‘Mr. Crichton,’ …., ‘also made a remarkable bid yesterday. It was known to the specialists ( among whom Mr. Cripps was conspicuous) that the Henry VII spoon in the sale is probably the only one discoverable, but the most ealstic-minded collector did not expect a price beyond £300. This curio, in a perfect state, partly gilt, the stem of flat hexagonal section, inscribed “Synt Nycolas Pray for WS” – and catalogued as hallmarked 1488, although it may be 1528 – caused Mr. Crichton to spurt on under pressure, and the goal was reached at the stupendous finish of £690. Sometimes Mr. Quaritch will take away himself a Caxton or a First Folio Shakespeare which he has just purchased for four figures. Yesterday Mr. Crichton took the silver spoon at once.’
The spoon was, in fact, 1528. It may be that Crichton had copies made by the firm of Wakely and Wheeler – examples marked by that firm have been noted and this spoon shows signs of over-marking. Undoubtedly Lamberts, who were one of the leading dealers in antique silver, would have been aware of the Dunn Gardner spoon prior to the Christie’s auction. An interesting article on the possible maker of the Gardner spoon appeared in ‘The Finial’: ‘Who made the Saint Nicholas Spoon?’ issue 16/02. 2005. The author, Piers Percival, suggests John Chaundler.
Length – 18.30 cm.; Width – 5.20 cm.; Weight – 69.10 gms.