An Exciting Discovery in Scottish Silver

A William & Mary Century Scottish Lace Back Spoon, Edinburgh 1692 by a previously unrecorded maker, Andro Gilmour

Click here to view the lot online: Lot 12 - Silver lace-back spoon

The spoon, lot 12 and estimated at £1,500-2,500, is coming up for sale in Dreweatts’ Sale of Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu on 7th December at Donnington Priory.

Until the discovery of this spoon there was no known example of a piece which was attributable to the Edinburgh Goldsmith Andro Gilmour.

The maker's mark, which is mis-struck, is clearly an initial followed by the letter G in a double circle. Fortunately the right-hand side of the first initial can be discerned as a diagonal, which is unique to the letter A. The mark may therefore be safely shown to be AG in a double circle - a mark which until now has not been recorded.

In the last quarter of the 17th century only two Goldsmiths with the initials AG are recorded in Edinburgh: Andro Gilmour whose earliest mention is 1686 and Adam Gordon who was first mentioned in 1696. Since the spoon is clearly struck with the date letter M of 1692 Adam Gordon may be ruled out, which leaves only Andro Gilmour as the possible maker.

The design of the spoon is interesting as it has a very rounded top and although fitting most comfortably into the ‘trefid’ group, it is not notched at the top and, although early in date for such a feature, it is essentially transitional between ‘trefid’ and ‘dog-nose’. Dreweatts silver department have come across several West Country spoons that have this feature (see lot 320 sold at Dreweatts on 28th September 2011 - a transitional spoon by John Elston, Exeter 1703). It is also noteworthy that Scottish ‘lace-backs’ are extremely rare and there are only two known examples, both in the National Museum of Scotland.

"While researching this spoon I was struck by how few examples there are of this type remarked Ian Pickford

Dreweatts silver consultant and leading authority on British antique silver and with a particular interest in spoons. “The example we are offering would provide a star addition to any collection of early silver or indeed of early spoons.

There is something for everyone in Dreweatts’ Sale of Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu, including a range of British silver from the late 17th to the mid 20th century, silver, silver and enamel and gold boxes, objects of vertu, Continental and Asian silver, Russian icons as well as miniature portraits and silhouettes. To round off the day Dreweatts have added furniture and furnishings from several local Country Houses, thus bringing together an ecelectic variety of fresh to the market ‘goodies’ for the Christmas buyer.

Full caption: A rare William & Mary Scottish silver lace-back spoon by Andro Gilmour, Edinburgh 1692, assay master John Borthwick, of transitional form from trefid to dog-nose, the back of the bowl with a ribbed rat-tail, the top of the back of the stem engraved with ownership initials 'TD' over 'CD', 19.5cm (7 3/4in) long, 56g (1.8 oz). Estimate £1500-2500.

To view the sale catalogue online, please click here.

For further press information please email or call the Dreweatts’ Donnington Priory Salerooms on 01635 553553.

Dreweatts - 23 November 2011