Lion Sejant spoon by John Parnell

The heraldic sitting lion has been recorded as a spoon finial, originally perhaps a family crest, since the fifteenth century.


18 x 6 x 2 cm
Art Fund grant:
£575 ( Total: £2,000)
Acquired in:
M Russell

Rarely produced in London after 1600, lion sejant spoons continued to be made in the rest of the country, particularly in the West Country, well into the seventeenth century. Specialising in spoons, for which there was a ready market, this Truro goldsmith offered all the popular finials of his day. This lion sejant spoon is little changed in form from the earliest examples. It would have been die-cast in a metal mould, the stem and bowl cast as one and the finial of the lion sejant cast separately, hard soldered in place with a step joint, and gilded with an amalgam of gold and mercury. Parnell hammered the bowl to shape and toughen the silver and punched into it his version of the lymphad, an encircled single-masted heraldic ship, the ancient seal of Truro, which dates back to the twelfth century.

Venue details

Royal Cornwall Museum River Street, Truro Cornwall TR1 2SJ 01872 272205

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £4.50)

Mon – Sat, 10am – 4.45pm (last admission at 4pm)