Stork hunting in The Hague « My Family Silver

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The stories behind our listings, news of exhibitions and some heraldic tales

Stork hunting in The Hague

Martyn Downer on the subject of Listed for sale at My Family Silver,Silver Collections. Posted on September 10th, 2012.

I love this outsize silver spoon and fork each mounted with a beautifully modelled standing stork holding an eel in its mouth which we have recently listed for sale at myfamilysilver.com.

Dutch silver spoon and fork with stork terminals, Holland 1893

The birds are the heraldic symbol  for The Hague adopted, according to tradition,  because so many white storks nested in the city in medieval times drawn by the rich pickings of the fish markets. Today the stork can be seen across the city on buildings, atop church spires and on a bewildering array of souvenirs and artworks. You can even take a tour of the city specifically focused on hunting down the stork while photographer Frans Schmidt, who has been collecting images of the stork  for years, has recently published “The Hague’s Stork” a lavishly illustrated survey of the symbol in his home town.

The stork emblazoned on the arms of City Hall in The Hague

The spoon and fork were made in 1893 presumably as lavish souvenirs or presentation items to a distinguished foreign visitor as they have export marks. The heads of the storks are hinged to reveal a compartment although I can’t figure out the purpose for this, maybe to hold a liquid or spice?

One of the silver storks, with red glass eyes and showing the hinged head

However, both spoon and fork, which are an impressive 15″ or 38 cm long, are quite impractical to use and were clearly intended for display only.  The lucky recipient took excellent care of them as they are both in perfect condition. They will be exhibited at the forthcoming LAPADA art & antiques fair in Berkeley Square, London W1 which runs from 19 to 23 September.

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