School of Art
Welsh Folk Craft – Love SpoonsIn 1933 Sidney Greenslade visited J. Kyrle Fletcher the well-known antiquarian dealer in Newport to secure his help in developing the Welsh Folk Craft, and in particular a love spoon collection. In a letter to Dan Jones, Fletcher wrote offering a range of artefacts from a shepherd’s crook and bed warming pans to 26 love spoons, warning that because of the ‘craft movement’ items of folk art were becoming increasingly rare. (JKF to DJ, 31.x.1933)
Lovespoons from the collection.
The giving of carved wooden spoons as love tokens during courtship and to commemorate special anniversaries is most widespread, though not exclusive to Wales. The spoons are the works of amateurs, not specialised wood turners, yet they are perceived to epitomise Welsh folk art. The Aberystwyth collection, acquired between 1926 and 1933, illustrated different forms and decoration evolving from simply carved spoons intended for domestic use to the increasingly sophisticated carving of the purely ornamental spoons. Few were documented - it is difficult to classify regional variation in love spoon making, or to date them with any accuracy, given that traditional patterns were copied over many generations. The symbolic geometrical motifs, subject to the idiosyncrasies of local craftsmen, also remain obscure.
Lovespoon, E. Williams, 19th century.