This is a marvellous book that should be in all spoon collectors libraries!

The book covers the following topics:- Economic background of the region, places of manufacture, town marks, methods of construction, types of spoon, makers' marks, marks to indicate standard, pricked initials, civic context, raw material - sources of supply, enforcement of standards (warden's searches), makers of spoons and their status, how the trade worked, spoon hoards, customers, spoonmaker biographies. In addition there are some fine illustrations and plates of spoons from the region. 

Being remote from London, West Country spoons have a particular charm of their own and the region produced some unique examples – Buddha knops, Aphrodite spoons, decorated puritans , baluster knops and shaded roundel trefids to name but a few.

This book, however, is more than just a discussion of the styles of spoons (13 pages) or biographies of spoon makers (82 pages), which it does superbly, it is also a truly excellent source of reference for the silver spoon making trade in general with a detailed study of the trade in the period from 1550-1750. Who were the makers? What was their status? How did they operate? Who were their customers? There is plenty of documentary evidence to back up the existence of the spoons from this region. Furthermore, the book explains how the warden searches from Goldsmiths Hall were undertaken to enforce standards, where the raw material was sourced and how the trade operated. These are all brought together in a most compelling way and the book is essential reading for the spoon collector to learn more of the trade even if you have never owned a West Country spoon.

Rating *****


180 pages 210mm x 200mm

Published: 1992

Publisher: JH Bourdon-Smith Ltd.