18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
legrandmogol
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18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby legrandmogol » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:35 pm

I am stumped with this one. The marks are very clear but I cannot find anything that is a good match. It appears to be a W with a ladder over it and the initials JD? FD?. The inscription reads "H.H. natus 1698 Denata 1753". It's possible the piece is English but I don't get that feeling so I posted it here. I tried also to get a picture of one other mark that is in the bowl of the spoon. It has a French Swan mark used from 1893-1984 with a regional assay office symbol that is too small to make out. Any help would be much appreciated

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Sasropakis
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:08 pm

The spoon looks Scandinavian/Nordic to me. When I saw the pictures it instantly reminded me of some Finnish funerary spoons which sometimes have that kind of somewhat crude decoration. If this was the case then the hallmark could be crowned W for Viipuri (nowadays Vyborg in Russia; German name Wiburg) but I'm not sure if it's a crown above W or just a ladder or something else. The town mark varied a lot based on the pictures I could found so it's possible that the crown could look very different from time to time. But during the 18th century items made in Viipuri (which was then under Russian rule) were often stamped just with town mark and makers mark placed close to eachother. And there was actually a silversmith Jacob Dammert (JD) working in Viipuri 1736-1756 but I couldn't find any pictures of his hallmarks as silver from Viipuri is quite rare. But I'm rather unsure about this so hopefully someone else recognized the hallmark. Here's a link to a picture of a late 17th century funerary spoon from Viipuri for reference: https://docplayer.fi/docs-images/40/305 ... age_11.jpg

AG2012
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby AG2012 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:57 am

Hi,
Also similar to Växjö (Sweden) and Vevey (Swiss) but the ``ladder`` on top rather than crown is confusing.
Regards

AG2012
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby AG2012 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:08 am

Why is gender in Latin inconsequent (i.e. natus - denata) ?
natus, nata, natum (born)
denatus,denata,denatum (died)

legrandmogol
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby legrandmogol » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:57 pm

I think Sasropakis is correct that it is probably from the Baltics. I had originally thought it was from Vevey Switzerland but the style of the spoon is wrong for there.

Qrt.S
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Qrt.S » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:27 am

Yes it is most likely Jacob Dammert in Viipuri/Viborg (in Carelia, not Baltics) like Sasropakis anticipates. There is a very similar picture of his mark in Bäcksbacka's book. Unfortunately I am unable to show the picture (far from my library).

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:48 am

Qrt.S, thanks for the info. I think I might to go to the local library to check out Marketta Tamminen's book Viipurin Hopeat (2017; the silverware of Viipuri) to see if there's any additional info. It would be very interesting if the spoon is really from Viipuri.

The topic really intrigues me so I made some genealogical research online to find out if there's a match with initials HH in Viipuri and there is. Merchant Henrik Haveman died in 1753: https://www.geni.com/people/Henrik-Have ... 2272354766 Moreover a census from 1718 gives his age 19 so he would have been born either in 1698 as in the spoon or in 1699. Of course this is just speculation as there might be other individuals with initials HH or the person could even be a female as there's that grammatical inconsistence with natus/denata. But at least it's a fairly good possibility.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Aguest » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:56 am

At some point when I was researching American Colonial silver spoons, I came across a tradition of "funeral spoons" where silver spoons were made and presented at funerals to commemorate the loved one :: I believe this tradition was imported from Scandinavia (maybe Holland), it had its origins there, and it was just incorporated into Colonial American culture ::: The article said that American Colonial funeral spoons were once "frequent", but are now extremely rare :::: Perhaps this spoon was presented at the funeral of this HH person who was well-regarded by his loved ones :

Sasropakis
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:45 am

I got Marketta Tamminen's book Viipurin hopeat from the library. Unfortunately there's no picture of Jacob Dammert's mark so we have to wait if Qrt.S can find a picture in Bäcksbacka's book. There was a short biography of Jacob Dammert though (p. 157). Here's a summary:

Born in 1683 in Sysmä, Finland. Moved to Helsinki and then to Viipuri, Worked in Saint Petersburg as a silversmith 1728-29 and in Viipuri 1736-1756. Married to Anna Maria Alberti (widow of Silversmith Lorentz Saltzberg). Died 15.3.1756. Other members of the Dammert family worked also as silversmiths (p. 46).

Apparently no know items by him are known to the author of the book as known items are listed for many other silversmiths so if the spoon is confirmed to be from Viipuri and by Jacob Dammert it's a very rare find indeed. The town marks varied significantly so it's possible that the "ladder" is actually a crown. Some drawings of the town marks can be found here: https://www.leimat.fi/en/localitymarks/ ... -z/viipuri

Funerary spoons were usually presents to the participants of the funerals and only the wealthy could afford such presents. Some can be found in Finnish museums. The number of merchants, civil servants and clergy in Viipuri who could have ordered such spoons is rather limited so Henrik Haveman who I mentioned in the earlier comment could well be the person behind HH. Overall if the spoon is really from Viipuri it's a very rare and historically interesting item.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Qrt.S » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:00 am

@Sasropakis
You don't need to go to the library. I have already checked it. First of all, it is Jacob Dammert. He was born in Sysmä in Finland 1683. He is Fredrik Dammerts brother and became journeyman in Viborg 13.2.1727 but could not become master there because of the resistance of the alderman H. Rosenius. Jacob vent to St. Petersburg and got his master certificate there 1736. Dammert died 15.3.1756. There are some more but irrelevant information in Tamminen's book.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Qrt.S » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:04 am

Ahhh, I was writing when your input dropped in. You have to wait for the picture because I'm in my summer cottage and don't have my library with me. I will revert to this case later.

legrandmogol
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby legrandmogol » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:17 am

Hi, thank you, everyone, for all your help. You've discovered a lot more information than I thought would be found. And the additional information regarding the possible merchant whose death is being commemorated is very exciting. Being able to understand a piece's place in history always makes my heart race. I look forward to seeing the picture from your book for I doubt I will be able to obtain the book myself, though I will try. Enjoy your summer cottage in the meanwhile. I will try to add both the books being cited to my library but it's not always so easy to get such books in the US, especially when you're trying to buy them online using Google translate. Also if you get a chance could please let me know the title of the Bäcksbacka book so I know I am ordering the correct book.

Sasropakis
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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:09 am

I assume that Qrt.S is referring to Leonard Bäcksbacka who has wrote two books about silver (I haven't seen either of them and they might be difficult to find):
Narvas och Nyens guldsmeder, Konstsalongens förlag, 1946
St. Petersburgs Juvelerafe, Guld- och Silversmeder 1714–1870 (1951)

Viipurin hopeat is sold for example by SKS (Finnish Literature Society): https://sks.kauppakv.fi/EN/page/product ... at/1963127 They offer an international delivery for €19.90. I just got the book from the library and started to read it but I might buy it for myself too as it seems to be quite interesting. There's a summary and also a list of illustrations in English.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby legrandmogol » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:23 am

Thank you for the links and references. I will try to hunt them down. I keep a list of books I can't find or are too expensive and just wait to till they show up and are affordable on the books sites I trust.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Qrt.S » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:29 am

Correct, those are the books. Narvas och Nyens Guldsmeder is a very thin book and less important but interesting. The town Nyen or in Finnish Nevanlinna was in the beginning a Swedish fortress Nyenskans (1300-1703) but occupied and destroyed by Peter the Great and St Petersburg built on it. A memorial statue is placed where it was on the other side on Neva river opposite the monastery Smolna. I've been there, not much to see, close to nothing.

I have a spare part of Narvas and Nyens Guldsmeder for sale. Send a PM in case of interest.

The other book "St. Petersburgs Juvelerare, Guld- och Silversmeder 1714–1870" (published 1951) is very difficult to find but here is one piece for sale
: https://cecilhagelstam.com/shop/backsba ... versmeder/

Note, it is not cheap. The text is in Swedish. It is an interesting book. Unfortunately to some parts outdated but anyway. Bäcksbacka wrote this book without having the possibility to access and research the Russian archives due to the Soviet era because it was capitalistic propaganda. In the introduction Bäcksbacka tells that. Due to the above mentioned reason and era, the books partly lacks vital information. Anyway, Postnikova is often referring to Bäcksbacka.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Aguest » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:43 am

Wouldn't it be a "Crown Above V" which represented the "Vyborg Governorate" which was ceded by the Swedish Empire at the time?

"The Vyborg Governorate was a Russian Governorate 1744-1812, which was established in territories ceded by the Swedish Empire in the Great Northern War. By the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, Sweden formally ceded control of the parts of the Viborg and Nyslott County and the Kexholm County located on the Karelian Isthmus and Lake Ladoga area to Russia. First these areas were part of the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Vyborg Governorate was established in 1744 when Sweden ceded control of parts of Kymmenegård and Nyslott County by the Treaty of Åbo."

Maybe it's neither quite Swedish or quite Russian, but it was it had it's own cultural identity as "Vyborg" so could it be a "Crown Over V" for Vyborg?
Maybe this is the official silver hallmark for the Vyborg Governorate established in 1744?

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:29 pm

The town mark of Viipuri has always been W. It comes from the coat of arms of the town. The name of the town in Finnish is Viipuri but it was often written Wiipuri, the same goes for Swedish so Viborg/Wiborg but in German only Wiburg with W (the majority of merchants had German origins and the language was also used for administration). In Finnish and Swedish V and W are pronounced in the same way but in German V and W are pronounced differently (F and V respectively) and Russian has only В for V (and Ф for F).

Viipuri was quite multiethnic town in the 18th century. German was the dominant language of merchants and the use of Swedish diminished, the lower classes spoke Finnish and then there were Russian military and other officials. But W was always the letter used to represent the town. The other towns of the Russian Finland (the areas Sweden ceded in 1721 and 1743 and which were joined to the rest of Finland in 1812 after the Russian conquest of the whole country in 1808-09) had their own marks. Nowaday Viipuri is a completely Russian town Vyborg as it was ceded by Finland first in 1940 and finally in 1944. The whole population was evacuated as was the population of Finnish Karelia (my ancestors come from the region too) and replaced with various nationalities of the Soviet Union. Historically Viipuri before 1944 is considered to be a Finnish town although it was ruled by Sweden from the middle ages until 1710/21, Russia until 1812, and autonomous grand duchy of Finland (part of Russia) and then independent Finland (1917) until WW2.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:42 pm

Aguest wrote:Maybe this is the official silver hallmark for the Vyborg Governorate established in 1744?


There was never such hallmark for the Vyborg Governorate. Only the towns hand their own hallmarks. The administrative history of the area is quite complicated but I''m actually quite well informed about the subject as I've worked in the National Archives of Finland and catalogued the archive material from that period. And I've also made some family research as my family comes from Karelia. The history of the area in the 18th century is quite interesting as it was a mixture of Swedish, Baltic German and Russian administrative practices although the vast majority of the inhabitants spoke Finnish.

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Aguest » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:19 pm

Then if the silversmith is Jacob Dammert, how does the "crowned V/W" symbol relate to a specific town? Would it be a town mark? And if a town mark, which country would it correspond to? It is quite interesting :

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Re: 18th Century Memento Mori 193mm Rattail Spoon

Postby Sasropakis » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:35 pm

JD is (probably) for Jacob Dammert so it's the maker's mark. And crowned W is the town mark for Viipuri/Vyborg/Wiburg. No country hallmarks were used in Viipuri in the 17th and 18th century, not even during the Swedish era, only in the early 19th century the mark for Finland (single crown) was added. And no date letters either before that. Occasionally the alderman's staff can be found and I believe one silversmith used some date marks too. But you won't find any double-headed eagle hallmarks etc. in silver items made in Viipuri. So when it comes to the hallmarks they are just like they should be if the spoon was made in Viipuri around 1750. Crowned W was also used for example in Swedish town Växjö but I couldn't find any corresponding silversmith with initials JD and apparently also Swiss Vevey. So far Viipuri is the most plausible option especially if a picture of Jacob Dammerts hallmark is found and it corresponds the one on the spoon. But of course if someone finds a town with corresponding town mark and it's really a ladder and not a crown and also a silversmith with initials JD the situation changes completely.


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