Spoon, souvenir with cockatoo finial, silver gilt, made by J M Wendt, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1890s - 1905
This hand crafted silver spoon belongs to the collection of silver and EPNS (electroplated nickel silver) tableware, trophies, napkin rings and spoons made and/or used in Australia between the 1890s and 1950s. Presented to the Museum in 2002, the collection was assembled in the 1980s by Dr G W Kenneth Cavill, an Emeritus Professor of the University of New South Wales. In his retirement, Professor Cavill has researched and published the histories of notable early 20th century silverware manufacturers in Australia. The collection is representative of their products. It was put together to document, and preserve examples of, the golden era for the production of domestic silverware in Australia. Rare manufacturers' catalogues of the 1920s and 1930s that complete the collection, show the extensive range of products then available
Souvenir and commemorative spoons are particularly well represented in the Cavill Collection. Spoons of Australian design, decorated with Australia's unique flora and fauna, were made from at least the 1890s. Frederick Basse was one of the better known jewellers and retailers in Adelaide. The spoon bears Basse's maker's mark, most probably as it's retailer. It is attributed to J M Wendt (1854-present) leading jewellers and silversmith in Adelaide. The firm produced a fine set of similar silver teaspoons about 1900-10, depicting Australian flora and fauna. The cast finials included representations of the kangaroo, emu, possum and swan. The plain bowl and twist stem are typical.
(See: K. Cavill, 'Commemorative and souvenir spoons of Australian interest, 1894-1994', Australiana, 1994 (4), pp 95-106.)
Most probably designed and made in the workshop of J M Wendt in Adelaide about 1900.
Jochim Mathias Wendt (1830-1917) arrived in Australia in 1854. He established Wendt Jewellers in Adelaide in 1854 and began a career of over 30 years as a leading retailer and manufacturer of jewellery and silver. By 1887 Wendt's Rundle Street business was employing 12 craftspeople and assistants. Wendt retired in 1903 and the business was taken over by his Jule and stepson Herman Koeppen Wendt.
Retailed by F Basse & Co.