click on images to enlarge
A SCOTTISH PROVINCIAL SALT SPOON
This is a Scottish Provincial King’s Pattern
silver salt spoon manufactured by Perth silversmith Robert Keay
II and assayed in Edinburgh in 1842.
Peculiar to Scotland, the King’s Pattern is only struck on the
front, the reverse side being plain.
This Victorian age salt spoon bears the hallmarks: three towered
castle and thistle for Edinburgh (note 1), date letter "L" for
the year 1842 and queen Victoria’s head facing left for the duty
Maker’s mark: RK in a rectangle for Robert Keay II.
The spoon also carries the initial W on the handle and its oval
bowl shows traces of gilding.
The Keay were a family of silversmiths active in Perth from late
18th century to mid 19th century.
Robert Keay I (the elder) is earliest mentioned in 1791 and
his latest mention (as RK mark) is in 1825. Since 1812 he used a
rectangular mark with RK while in 1836 is registered in
Edinburgh another rectangular mark with "R &RK" in partnership
with his nephew Robert Keay II (the younger). When Robert Keay I
ceased his activity the punch RK continued to be used by Robert
Keay II (earliest mention 1839, latest mention 1856) (note 2)
- Two factors signed the definitive decline of silversmithing
activity in Perth (note 3):
The 1836 Act requiring all Scottish silver to be hallmarked in
the Assay Offices of Glasgow or Edinburgh. This had the effect
of concentrating production in these cities.
- The diffusion from the 1850s of the new cheaper process of
electro-plating silver that covered most of the less expensive
Length of the spoon 99 mm
Width of the bowl 22 mm
Weight 12 g
(note 1) from 1759 the thistle mark replaced the Assay Master's
mark in Scotland
(note 2) Jackson's quotes 1839-1856 use of "RK" punch by Robert
Keay II accompanied by Perth town mark (an eagle displayed),
while any use in Edinburgh of Robert Keay II "RK" mark is
mentioned. Other 19th century Perth silversmiths quoted by
Jackson's are, among others, John Hogg (active 1815-1839),
Charles Murray (active 1816-1825), John Scott (active
1817-1841), Charles Sheddon (active 1813-1871) and David Greig I
(note 3) The goldsmiths' art in Perth goes back to the twelfth
century, at which time the city was the effective capital of
Scotland, but they never had a distinct guild and were
associated with blacksmiths, whitesmiths, gunsmiths and others
in the Hammermen's Incorporation.
- 2008 -