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Silver Collector Forums

Patterns on Silver Flatware (Cutlery)

I am new to this forum. I have read a number of the postings and believe that the subject of this posting has not been covered. Collecting silver, in my view, is not so much about it’s age, value, maker or makers location - all of which can be researched online, but more about it’s beauty of form and design. The areas of interest for me are these and the history of each piece. For instance, I have a teaspoon made by Chawner and Co, with the makers mark of conjoined circles with GA - George Adams (he probably did not make it himself, but rather one of the many workers in the Chawner factory. He may have designed it however) - with London Assay Mark and date letter of lowercase “g” for 1862. It also has a lozenge registration mark on the underside of the bowl which shows it’s registration to be January 1862, thus reinforcing the date for assay. Now that information is all very well but is merely “interesting” to me.
What is more interesting is the pattern, when the pattern was registered and the “coat of arms” and motto that is emblazoned in the usual place on the handle.
My questions to myself are: Who designed it? For whom?
Well obviously it was designed by someone at the Chawner factory - now the Chawner factory was the foremost creator of new patterns throughout the period that George Adams was the owner. What I have not been able to ascertain is the name of the pattern - it is a fiddle-style shape, pinched in at the upper handle section and the whole of the handle is bordered by a rope design with knots at the top and bottom of the fiddle area (on both sides) and on the underside where the handle meets the bowl.
The second question has to some extent been answered as I have been able to ascertain that the motto “Anime non Astutia” is that for the house of / clan Gordon - meaning “By Courage, not Craft”. The “coat of arms” is that of a wild boar which, on first investigation pointed me in the direction (conversely) of Clan Campbell and some of the septs of that clan. On further investigation there was no incongruity, as the boar’s head actually appears (three times) on the Gordon crest. The one on the spoon does have what looks like a sword piercing the upper jaw from the uppermost side - this I have not been able to determine except that it might be to do with the legend that the first Gordon saved a Scottish King from an attacking boar (this is not supported by the Clan Gordon history - just that a marauding boar was killed). So I have probably determined that the spoon was commissioned by an eminent member of the Gordon clan sometime in the late 1850’s / early 1860’s. Why? Because it must have been an eminent member to be able to commission a design, purchase and have the motto and crest element engraved on each piece - a not inconsiderable monetary outlay.
Who might that be?
Well around that time there were a number of interesting Gordons’.
Charles Gordon, 10th Marquis of Huntly, Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Whig MP for Huntingdonshire - Head of the House of / Clan Gordon.
General Charles Gordon who became a national hero for his exploits in China and his ill-fated defence of Khartoum against Sudanese rebels.
George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, Prime Minister of the UK 1852-1855.
And his sons:
George, Liberal politician
John, Marquis of Aberdeen & Tremail
Sir Alexander Hamilton-Gordon, of Army fame
Arthur Gordon, Baron Stanmore, Governor of New Brunswick, Trinidad, Mauritius, Fiji, New Zealand and finally Ceylon.
So, do I have an object that was owned and handled by a British Prime Minister, an eminent politician, a Marquis, a Baron, the head of the clan or one of two eminent historical army personages?
Well that may become evident if I can determine information from the registration archives - any ideas?; Chawner archives; or if members of the clan have any of the silver service of which this spoon was a member - any Gordons’ in the membership?.
So a single spoon can tell us a lot and allow us to research it’s history and allow us to dream of times past.
One question remains - how often have you guys seen registration marks on a silver spoon - or any flatware?