This small collection of custom silverware, portrait miniatures and other items has direct connections to the Johnson family, who lived at the medieval Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding, Lincolnshire, from the mid-17th century until the estate was sold in 1898.

In the early 20th century, the house and gardens were bought by the people of Spalding, and, after being used as a home for Belgian First World War refugees, a library, a school and council offices,
it became the local museum for the district in the 1980s.

Prominent among the items of silverware is a fine George IV sugar caster, stamped with the mark of Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard I. Like the other silverware, which includes a pair of salts, a sauce ladle and two tea caddy spoons, the sugar caster features the heraldic device of the Johnson family.

The earliest portrait miniature among the group of seven is a mid-17th-century oil painting on vellum of one of the Mrs Johnsons, which shows either Mrs Katharine Johnson (d1697) or Mrs Jane Johnson (d1703). Another fine portrait miniature, by the artist George Roth (c1739-1821), shows Maurice Johnson V (1788-1820) when he was a young boy.

Other items, including a letter opener and an engraving plate marked with the heraldic device of the family, also feature among the works in the collection.

When Ayscoughfee Hall was first sold, its contents were dispersed. It is now a priority for the museum to collect articles relating to the families who lived here. The acquisition of these items belonging to the Johnson family marks another step forward in this campaign.


When the last member of the Johnson family sold Ayscoughfee Hall to the people of Spalding in 1898, most of the contents of the Hall were consigned to auction. However, these objects were retained by the Johnson family and have passed down to the vendor

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