Silver Flameback Marrow Spoon, 1690
Marrow Spoon - Flameback - London circa 1690 - 18cm long; 26g - VK/2662
This is an exceptionally early example of a late 17th century silver marrow spoon with appealing and very rare original engraving.
The style of engraving to the reverse of the bowl is generally called "flameback" and was fashionable for a short period during the late 1680's and early 1690's. These days it is a very rare and highly desirable design for trefid spoons, never mind for marrow spoons! Marrow spoons had only just been introduced at this time, so making this piece one of the earliest that you are likely to find.
This marrow spoon takes the usual form with a standard spoon bowl to one end of the short shaft and a narrow scoop to the other to reach in to marrow bones and retrieve the tasty morsels. The engraving has been beautifully executed with the diagnostic flameback design to both the spoon bowl and reverse side of the scoop too. Both sides of the central shank have been engraved giving this spoon a very appealing appearance.
One of the common features of flameback spoon is the loss of hallmarks within the engraved design (silversmiths would have had the choice of either engraving first and face having their work ruined by the hallmarking, or afterwards and thus engraving over the stamps). In this instance, only the leopard's head mark can be seen, the other hallmarks having been obliterated by the engraving - a full set of legible hallmarks would have at least doubled the value of this rare marrow spoon. Although light in weight, this spoon remains in fine condition with crisp engraving.