Liturgical [heel] spoon | Metal,silver | 17th century AD | The Hunt Collection | PD

This heel spoon is so-called because it can stand upright by means of a triangular-shaped platform at the junction of the stem and bowl. The purpose of the device was to allow the celebrant of the mass to grasp it easily and then convey water into the wine in the chalice. On the front of the bowl in flat chasing is a crucifixion scene with a skull and crossbones at the foot of the cross. Inscribed on the finial of the handle is the date ’1618’ and over this, the dedication ‘IS’ is probably an abbreviation for Jesu Saviour. Where the stem and bowl are joined at the back is a very small impressed area, bearing the town mark of Augsburg, the most important gold-smithing centre in Germany in the seventeenth century. On the back of the heel is a design resembling a palm branch and on the back of the bowl a leafy and coral flat-chased design.