Image of a Silver pap-boat on a white background

Silver pap-boat | Metal,Silver (sterling) | 18th century AD | The Hunt Collection | PD

This is a small, shallow vessel, similar in shape to a sauce boat, with a long, wide lip convenient for those who are too weak to feed themselves.

Pap is said to be the sounds a baby makes when it is hungry or while it is feeding, and the word applies to soft or semi-liquid food given to infants and invalids. Not many Pap boats were made in Ireland: two were registered at the Dublin assay office in 1788 and then none until 1810. 

This pap boat is made of silver and devoid of decoration. The mark of Joseph Johns, a lion rampant, is struck twice on the bottom accompanied by the paired initials ‘W’ and ‘I’ which may indicate a wedding or christening gift. Johns’s initials ‘II’ on either side of the lion, are accompanied by the word Sterling. Johns had a workshop on Mary Street in Limericks English town. He was elected Mayor of Limerick in 1773 and died two years later.