Norwich silver spoon will shine

A rare example of Norfolk silver – a trefid spoon made in the city during the reign of Charles II – comes to auction in London next month. At the sale of Silver and Objects of Vertu at Chiswick Auctions in London on October 19 the spoon, with its distinctive three-point terminal initialled and dated 1676, is expected to bring £3,000-5,000. 

For many years the largest city outside London, Norwich had its own silver assay office during three periods from 1565-1701. The city was much admired for the quality of its output – some of it on a par with that produced in London– but by the 18th century production had slowed and silverware made in the city was sent for marking elsewhere. As so much was melted down in the Georgian era, relatively little has survived.

This trefid spoon has the Norwich town mark (a castle upon lion) and the makers mark for Arthur Haslewood II, a member of the Haslewood family of silversmiths that prospered for three generations from around 1625-1740. Arthur Haselwood II was the husband of Elizabeth Haselwood (1644-1715), who is today celebrated as the only woman silversmith known to have worked in the city. She proved successful in a male-dominated trade, taking over the workshop upon Arthur’s death in 1684 and continuing to trade under her own name well into the 18th century. She and her husband are buried in the same tomb in St Andrew’s Church, Norwich.

Chiswick Auctions has identified and sold several pieces of East Anglian silver in recent years. In June 2021, an Elizabethan paten (the cover to a communion cup), probably made in the Waveney Valley, c.1560-80, sold for £1,625, while in October 2020 a previously unrecorded Charles II beaker made in Great Yarmouth by Thomas Hutchinson took £7000.

John Rogers, head of Head of Silver & Objects of Vertu expressed his delight at being able to offer another piece – and hinted at discoveries still yet to be found. “It is always a joy to be able to offer East Anglian silver, which is now vanishingly rare. A Norwich trefid spoon is a wonderful, fresh to the market find. I still have yet to find a piece of silver marked for King’s Lynn so the journey continues.”