I LOVE LIBERTY Georgian Silver Teaspoon, c.1775
Teaspoon - Hanoverian; I LOVE LIBERTY picture-back - London circa 1775 by Thomas Evans - 10cm long; 7g - RL/2135a
Probably the most famous of the picture backs spoons, the reverse of the bowl on this teaspoon depicts a dove departing an open cage with an olive branch in it's beak, surmounted by the words "I LOVE LIBERTY". It was almost certainly inspired by the trials of the political activist John Wilkes during the period 1765 - 1771. John Wilkes (1725 - 1798) was imprisoned on "libellous" and "treasonable" charges following his attacks in The North Briton newspaper against King George III and his government. His stance against the establishment's corruption, is considered as the major break through for the freedom of the press in the UK.
This is a great example of this most highly sought after Georgian period picture back spoon with the motif and "I LOVE LIBERTY" words mostly visible. The two appropriate bottom-struck marks are present, with the "TE" maker's mark for the spoonmaker Thomas Evans. The spoon bears script initials to the reverse terminal in the form of a betrothal triangle - the "C" to the base represents the happy couple's surname and the upper two their first names - it's somewhat oxymoronic to find such a triangle in the script style as it would have been engraved at the cusp of the script style becoming fashionable and the betrothal triangle going out of fashion!