Edward VI Silver Lion Sejant Spoon, 1548

Edward VI silver lion sejant spoon London 1548 by Nicholas bartholomew
Edward VI silver lion sejant spoon London 1548 by Nicholas bartholomew DSCN5142 v2 DSCN5143 DSCN5144 DSCN5145 DSCN5146 DSCN5147 v2 DSCN5148 DSCN5149 DSCN5150 DSCN5151


Spoon - Lion Sejant - London 1548 by Nicholas Bartholomew - 17cm long; 51g - YT/4761

This is an extremely rare Tudor period silver lion sejant spoon dating from the short reign of King Edward VI.

Edward VI spoons very infrequently appear on the market and a lion sejant affronteé from this period is a particular rarity! This attractive spoon has a good cast model of a sitting lion to the terminal with its tail protruding from under its body and curling up the back. The lion remains in fine condition with plenty of detail still visible including the mane and textured fur, plus the gaps between stomach and legs are indicators of a well-made piece. Overall the  appearance of this example is far superior than most other 16th century big cat survivors.

After 475 years of use, the condition of this spoon is remarkable. Not only is the detail still visible to the cast lion finial, but the bowl retains it's full shape too with no sharpness to the leading edge. The hexagonal stem tapers towards the terminal where the original v-joint is visible, plus the antique patina is well-preserved.

The hallmarks to the reverse of the stem remain legible although the  leopard's head bowl mark is rather more worn. The stem marks include the date letter "L" for 1548 and an obvious, albeit partially rubbed, "NB" monogram maker's mark for the maker of this spoon, Nicholas Bartholomew. There is an old collectors label to the reverse of the bowl - we have left it in place but dipped for five minutes in cold water will be enough to soften it for removal if preferred.

Nicholas Bartholomew had formerly been apprenticed to Thomas Trappes and was working in London between 1545 and 1588. This spoon was an early product from his workshop and the "NB" maker's mark was used for a few short years before being replaced by his "crescent enclosing a mullet" mark that continued to be used after Bartholomew's retirement by his apprentice Patrick Brue.

To place this spoon in a historical context, the reign of the boy King Edward VI lasted just six years. He was crowned in 1547 at the age of nine, was the only son of Henry VIII (with Jane Seymour) and became the third Tudor King. He was the first monarch raised as a protestant, but he died aged 15 in 1553 and after the thirteen day reign of Lady Jane Grey, England returned to catholicism for a brief period during the turbulent reign of Queen Mary. 

Finding pre-Elizabethan spoons is extremely difficult and a hefty premium should be attached to any spoon from this period.