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An "I love liberty" spoon with a worn maker's mark
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:20 am
Here's a teaspoon with the "I love liberty" picture back. This is a reference to a John Wilks who was imprisoned. If anyone knows the exact story of this, I'd love to hear it.
The maker's mark is quite worn, and, after leafing through Jackson's, I'm still no closer to finding him. I can't even advise you as to the letters; any help would be very much appreciated.
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:43 pm
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 6:45 pm
Thankyou for those links Patrick. I think my mark is upside down; as the letter on the left of my picture resembles the R of Philip Roker III who made spoons with this fancy back. The only other maker I've seen with this design is Thomas Wallis, and the door of his bird cage opens on the left whereas on Roker's it opens on the right.
I've included the picture the other way up; what do you think?
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:06 pm
I'm just not sure. Here's another link with more pictures of the Philip Roker spoon:http://antiquesilverspoons.co.uk/477511532.htm
Best of luck on your research,
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 7:29 pm
The mark can certainly be that of PRIII, the bits that are left visible do match up.
Read the wiki article on Wilkes and find it odd that these were being made in 1776 when his outlaw radical days were over and he was the respectable Lord Mayor of London. The date coinciding with the onset of the American Revolution makes me wonder if they were made to market to either pro-American or anti-war Britishers, as Wilkes was opposed to the war and "liberty" was the strongest catchphrase of the colonists. Any thoughts?
Posted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:21 pm
English Silver Spoons by Michael Snodin suggests that the catch phrase and spoons occured slightly earlier than 1776, closer to 1770; this is supported in Spoons 1650-1930 by Simon Moore who dates one of these spoons to c.1770. I'm not sure why antiquesilverspoons.com dates them as circa 1776, when "circa" is usually used with dates ending in 0 or 5. Either they know something the spoon books don't, or they're trying to give greater credibility to their dating.
Even taking this earlier date into account, your theory still sounds very possible, but more likely the growing unhappiness with English rule over America simply added to the feelings of inhibition of the time rather than resulted in this design by itself.
I think the word liberty has been used far to widely and frequently as to be able to accurately assign this particular use to that of American colonists.
You'll have to excuse my ignorance of American flatware, but were there any political designs on spoons your side of the Atlantic; perhaps, like you theorized, against British rule.
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:03 am
I think in the beginning the colonies were not happy with the British taxes, not necessarily British rule altogether. Here's an interesting spoon as an example.http://www.vahistorical.org/sva2003/spoon.htm
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:27 pm
I've seen birdbacks, fanbacks, shipbacks & shellbacks, but never anything with political symbolism. Don't know if they exist, but I'd love to see one (better - find one) if they do, a revolutionary die stamped decorated bowl would really be something special. Although the spoon in Patrick's link is a spectacular piece of Americana, the concept of a silversmith manufacturing such things (British or American) intrigues me more than the idea of an owner having his own personal sentiments added.
Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:38 pm
I checked my old American silver books for "Liberty" silver, but found only Presidential campaign spoons.
Did find an interesting item though. Here's a picture of a silver plated spoon that has an enameled American and British flag. It also has the American Eagle and British Lion along with the latin words "gloria mundi" (Glorious world).
Posted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:44 pm
Here's something you may find interesting: a silver and enamel French patch box with the words "J'ayme la liberte". It was dated as c.1770.