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Bright-cut Engraved Mote Spoon

Availability: Sold

Mote Spoon - Bright-cut Engraved - London 1791 by Peter & Ann Bateman - 15.8cm long; 21g - WH/4873

Bright-cut Engraved Mote Spoon








Details

This is a stunning silver mote spoon with beautiful bright-cut engraved decoration and an attractively pierced bowl. The handle is engraved with an initial towards the spike terminal which was used for unclogging the spout grill inside teapots. Mote spoons are also known as mote skimmers and were used to remove dust motes from the surface of cups of tea.

 

Mote spoons with bright-cut engraving are very rare because they had gone out of fashion by the 1770's when they were superseded by caddy spoons and so pre-dated the advent of this decorating technique. A further unusual feature of this example is the presence of a date letter - again not stamped on small flatware before 1780. The late date would lead one to think there was something suspicious about this spoon, however in our opinion it is absolutely right.

 

If this mote spoon was not authentic then it will have been converted from another piece of flatware. Given the length and bowl size, then a teaspoon would be the most likely candidate, however the stem of this mote spoon is far longer than teaspoons of this date. The only other option would be to consider the larger dessert spoons, however the bowl would not possess such strength (the thickness of metal in a dessert spoon is towards the tip) and the hallmarks on a dessert spoon would bear all 5 stamps (i.e. also include the Leopard's head crowned). Furthermore, if we consider the location of the hallmark this would also disqualify both teapoon and dessert spoon as they would have been top-marked (i.e. towards the terminal). We think this mote spoon is a genuine example that was made out-of-period, probably as a commission to perhaps to replace a lost or damaged one. The location of the hallmark is strong evidence as it would be the only feasible place to stamp the marks on a mote spoon and would be incorrectly marked for either a teaspoon or dessert spoon..

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