Memorial spoon

Object Number: 
INV.14296
Date: 
ca. 1788
Medium: 
Silver
Dimensions: 
Overall: 9 3/8 x 1 5/8 x 7/8 in. ( 23.8 x 4.1 x 2.2 cm ) Silver Weight: 1 oz (troy) 19 dwt (60 g)
Marks: 
engraved: on the handle: "Joanna Westerlo, died 4". Feb 1788 Aged 4 Yrs & 11 Months." in script stamped: on the underside of the stem: "HUTTON" in a rectangle
Description: 
Silver memorial spoon, in the form of a tablespoon with a downturned oval-end handle, short splayed midrib on the underside, and elliptical bowl with a long broad drop; obverse of handle is engraved, "Joanna Westerlo, died 4". Feb 1788 Aged 4 Yrs & 11 Months." in script; maker's hallmark stamped along underside of handle shaft.
Gallery Label: 
In response to the death of loved ones, Dutch New Yorkers coupled private mourning with ritual and public ceremony. Prominent figures were often laid to rest with lavish gatherings marked more by pomp and conviviality than solemnity. Silver spoons such as this were typical mementos of the deceased given to funeral participants. This custom of presenting silver spoons to mourners was particularly entrenched in the Albany area; many spoons from Albany families survive bearing inscriptions identifying the deceased and their date of death. This well-used spoon commemorates the death in 1788 of four-year-old Joanna Westerlo, the daughter of Catherine Livingston Van Rensselaer (1745-1810) and Eilardus Westerlo (1738-1790), minister of the Albany Dutch Reformed Church.
Provenance: 
Descent unknown.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group