Antique c1610 STERLING Silver John QUICK Quycke Barnstaple Female KNOP Spoon


Rare Early 17th century gilt sterling silver spoon, Barnstaple, c.1610. Attributed to the greatest* English spoon maker of all time John Quick / Quycke**. 

The interior of the oval bowl engraved with stylized fruit, foliage, and strapwork on a hatch ground, the reverse pricked MP S below a short applied rat tail, the curved faceted and knopped stem rising from a grotesque lion mask to a leaf-wrapped terminal sprouting female head. L. 6 1/2 in., bowl is 1 7/8 in. 45 gr.

Purchased Sotheby's 9-Jun-94 lot 180 receipt and catalog available.

Sotheby's note from 9-Jun-94 lot 179& 180 description: The spoon stems of which appear to be of previously unrecorded patterns, bear a close affinity with the so-called "Aphrodite" spoons which are generally associated with the goldsmith John Quick of Barnstaple. Several examples of these spoons have been noted and are discussed by G.E.P. and J P How, English and Scottish Silver Spoons, London 1953, vol.II, ch.III, section V, pp 201-215; and more recently, together with other types of engraved spoons from Barnstaple, by Timothy Kent, West Country Silver Spoons and their makers 150-1750 pp 17-20. Kent, who frankly admits that Quick remains a shadowy figure, sheds a little light on the goldsmith and his circle on the pp 1213-125, where an example of the 'berry" mark appears.

Also as noted in English Silver at Williamsburg (John D Davis, 1976, p166):

“Forming one of the most distinctive groups of English spoons and provincial decoration, they are the work of John Quycke of Barnstaple, a member of a large family of silversmiths. . . . They bear his maker's mark of a leafed strawberry within a shaped shield on the face of their bowls. A rebus for “quycke,” a local Devonshire word for berry.”

*Commander George Evelyn Paget How, co-author of English and Scottish Silver Spoons, Medieval to LateStuart, and Pre-Elizabethan Hall-Marks on English Plate considered John Quycke “the greatest English spoon-maker of all time.” (London 1952-1957, three volumes, quotation is volume 2, p. 379)

**Given the flexibility of grammar and spelling the period Quick can also be found referenced as Quycke.