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John Edwards Massive Colonial Silver Cannon-Handled Serving Spoon, Boston, c.1710-20

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With a tapered cylindrical hollow handle with a flared, molded end terminating in a demi-sphere, the large deep oval bowl attached with a rattail joined to a round element connected to the hollow handle with a turned baluster form element. Length: 16.½ inches, weight: approximately 8 troy ounces, Marked with mark c (Buhler, American Silver at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), used after 1710.

Serving spoons like this survive in extremely limited numbers today: they were used during their time and only a few lasted long enough to become prized heirlooms or antiques. This very rare example of early colonial silver was made by John Edwards in Boston. Edwards was an important Boston goldsmith, making significant church and presentation silver; he held many civic positions and was known as an honorable and honest artisan. His work is represented in the collections of many important museums; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has the only other known example like this by Edwards.

Provenance: An heirloom of the Weld Family of Dover, MA. By repute, this spoon has descended directly in the family.

For more information about Edwards see:

Kathryn Buhler, "John Edwards, Goldsmith, and his Progeny,", The Magazine Antiques, April, 1951.
American Silver at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
— With Graham Hood, American Silver at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Henry Flint and Martha Gandy Fales, The Heritage Foundation of Silver.

Ian Quimby, American Silver at Winterthur.

Condition: Very Good. There are some dings at the end of the handle and on the bowl. It has a great old surface and no restoration. The Winthrop family crest on the back of the bowl is not of the period. There may have been a finial at the end.

Important Edwards Pieces in Museum Collections:

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:

Several pieces including: a c. 1695 miniature caudle cup,. a mug, cup, salver, porringer, the Brattle Street Church Flagon c. 1712 (and two communion cups from the same church), and two beakers from the New South Church, a couple spoons, and the large hollow handled serving spoon mentioned above.

Yale University Art Galleries:

Several Pieces including: the Walker Family salver, a pepper box, porringer, three beakers from the First Congregational Church of Ipswich, a two handled cup from the First Congregational Church of Hatfield, a tankard and a couple spoons.


Only a few pieces including: an important lidded spout cup, two porringers and three spoons.

The Heritage Foundation Collection at Historic Deerfield:

Only a few pieces: a spout cup, a cann, and a beaker recently acquired from the First Church of Deerfield.