Even though ladles date to the Roman era and sterling silver flatware was first produced in Sheffield, England in the 1200s, sterling silver ladles did not see widespread use until the mid-18th century, when a companion to the newly embraced- soup tureen was needed. A long, gooseneck-handled spoon with a working end big enough to efficiently fill a soup bowl was an obvious complement.

Like a lot of flatware of the day, sterling silver ladles conformed to the prevailing style. Handles tended to feature the same sorts of shapes and designs as knives, forks, and spoons—from plain Old English to scalloped King’s to handles with beaded borders, which were especially popular during the Victorian Era. Makers included Gorham, Dominick and Haff, Wallace, and Reed and Barton, while patterns ranged from Lancaster to Strasbourg to Hepplewhite.

One type of 18th-century soup ladle that’s especially prized is a ladle from Limerick, Ireland. A Limerick ladle usually has a round, shell-shaped bowl with custom engraving on the handle. For some reason, Limerick ladles whose shell bowls actually resembles shells are less desirable that round ones.

Soup tureens may have provided the initial impetus to create an accompanying ladle, but silversmiths certainly didn't limit themselves to that. It wasn’t long before they were creating smaller ladles for a plethora of other purposes. Toddy ladles were designed to scoop warm servings of hot toddy into cups. Sauce ladles with shorter handles were also produced, as were ladles for serving cream, gravy, and bullion.

Punch ladles were in a class by themselves. Frequently formed from hammered silver coins for the bowls and handles made of carved wood, horn, or whalebone, 18th-century punch ladles were more fragile than other types of flatware, which makes finding one today in good condition a rare event.

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, artisans influenced by Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts produced similarly styled ladles, as well as other servicing utensils. For Art Nouveau silversmiths, floral and fruit motifs were favorite devices, while Arts and Crafts smiths often hammered their surfaces to create densely indented surfaces, in an effort not to disguise the methods of production. Other designers and manufacturers—from the aforementioned Gorham to Georg Jensen, Tiffany & Co., Unger Bros., Oneida, and Shreve & Co.—combined their original designs with ones appropriated from history.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

Silver Marks Encyclopedia

An extensive reference guide to silver marks, hallmarks, trademarks and maker's marks found on antique and vintage … [read review or visit site]

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

Silver at the Victoria and Albert

This is a great reference site on silver, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum. You can view silver items acc… [read review or visit site]

The Gilbert Collection

The Gilbert Collection

The late Sir Arthur Gilbert's collection of European silver, gold, enamel, and other items is now housed at the Vic… [read review or visit site]

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj

“Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj” was the title of a 2008 exhibition at Columbia University’s Mi… [read review or visit site]

TheStieffCompany.com

TheStieffCompany.com

Scott Perkins is an enthusiastic evangelist for The Stieff Company, a significant Baltimore silversmith and maker o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Solid 925 Sterling Silver Sauce Boat Pourer Jug & Ladle Spoon Boxed 141gAntique 18th Century Dutch Solid Silver Sifter Ladle With Turned HandleNewell Harding Boston Sterling Silver Ladle W/ Medallion Figural Face, 1869Superb Pair Of Georgian Scottish Silver Sauce Ladles C.1806Georg Jensen Silver Sauce Ladle - Akkeleje Pattern - Fabulous Spoon12" Heavy Dutch Solid Silver Ladle Spoon - Over 8 1/2 Oz - Ideal For ChristmasUnopened Wallace Rose Point Sterling Silver Gravy Ladle 6.75" (56.7g) - Nr!Early Whiting Mfg Sterling Silver Lily Of The Valley Pattern Mustard Ladle Spoon Gorham Sterling Silver Gravy Ladle / Spoon Strasbourg Serving Post-1940Antique Solid 925 Sterling Silver Elegant Sifting Ladle Scoop Spoon Engraved 60gGorham Strasbourg Sterling LadleGood Mappin Webb 1929 Hallmarked Silver Rattail Soup Ladle Engraved S 198 GramsAntique Georgian .925 Hm Sterling Silver Miniature Toddy Punch LadleTheodor Eggink Russian Silver Pierced Ladle 84 Jelgava Latvia 1851-1866Usn Navy Wilcox Silver Soldered Serving Bowl Soup Tureen/gravy W/ Ladle 4pcAuthentic Tiffany & Co Sterling Silver Elsa Peretti Padova Serving Spoon Ladle2 Reid 1854 Fiddle Newcastle Victorian Crested Silver Sauce Ladles 110gFine Antique Solid Sterling Silver Georgian Scottish Sauce Ladle Edinburgh 1818.Hm1827 Georgian Solid Silver Ladle Crested Charles Eley Sauce Gravy Antique Nr Georgian Solid Silver Mustard Salt Ladle Spoon - Birmingham 1819 - Joseph TaylorBeautiful No Reserve Antique Sterling Large 81.35 Dwt Ladle - Ps5876Antique Vintage Silver Gilt & Decorative Enamel Ladle / Spoon. Tostrup Norway ?A+ Rare! London English 1786 Georgian Sterling Silver Gravy / Sauce LadleGlasgow 1826 George Iv Hallmarked Silver Fiddle Toddy Ladle Hand & Eye Crest 40gVintage Gorham Sterling Silver Gravy Ladle Chantilly Pattern Monogram 7"Beautiful Silver Art Deco George Jensen Large Ladle - Ps6587Scarce American Coin Silver 15" Ladle, Teunis D. Dubois, Nyc, Early 1800'sGrp 9 Sterling Silver Teaspoons Incl. Gorham Versailles, Souvenir Spoons & LadleOld Beauty! Sterling Silver Gorham Chantilly Condiment Ladle Or Preserve SpoonSterling Durgin Serving Ladle Chrysanthemum 1893 ~no Mono ~ No ResvS. Kirk & Son Repousse Sterling Ladle No ReserveS Kirk & Son Sterling 5.5" Ladle Spoon 31.3 GramsGeorge Iii 3rd Georgian Silver Large Toddy Ladle With Inlaid 1787 Sixpence 6dGood Mappin Webb 1929 Hallmarked Silver Rattail Sauce Ladle Engraved S 84 GramsSterling Silver Gravy Sauce Ladle With Shell Bowl Kirk Stieff Williamsburg ShellGorham Chantilly Sterling Silver .925 5 7/8-inch LadleUnger Bros. Sterling Silver Mustard Spoon Small Condiment Ladle No MonoAntique Solid Sterling Silver Provincial Victorian Sauce Ladle Newcastle 1849.Wallace Grande Baroque Sterling Silver Gravy Ladle 6 1/2 Inches1799 Georgian Antique 925 Sterling Silver Fiddle Pattern Sauce Ladle Spoon 51gS.kirk & Son Large Sterling Punch Bowl Ladle Lot 7Solid Sterling Silver Sauce Ladle Hallmarked Newcastle C1810Stunning George Ii Silver Soup Ladle, 1759, 163gmTiffany Richelieu Large Sterling Soup/punch Ladle 12"Antique Towle Sterling Silver Repousse Old Master Pattern Sauce Gravy LadleLady Mary (1917) By Towle ~ Sterling Gravy & Cream Ladles ~ 2.49 Ozt ~ No MonosVintage Rogers Bros 1847 A1 10" Grape Serving Ladle Silverware Silver Plate Antique Late 19th Century Continental Silver Miniature Punch Toddy LadleVintage Sterling Silver Sauce Ladle Spratling Style No Reserve At All !! Nr !!Tiffany & Co English King Sterling Oyster LadleA+ Rare! London English 1850 Victorian Sterling Silver Gravy / Sauce LadleTowle Old Colonial Sterling Silver Solid Piece Gravy Ladle International Sterling Silver 925 Royal Danish Round Bowl Gravy LadleWestmoreland Sterling Silver Spoons & Ladle 151g S. Kirk & Son Repousse Sterling Cream Ladle No ReserveFine Quality Repaired Antique George Ii Solid Silver Punch Ladle C17501874 Victorian Antique 925 Sterling Silver Fiddle Pattern Sauce Ladle Spoon 71gVtg Silver Plated Serving Spoon Ladle Cake Pie Tomato Server Benedict RodgerGeorge Iii 3rd Georgian Silver Very Big Toddy Ladle With Inlaid 1787 Sixpence 6dAntique Whiting Gorham Sterling Silver 1902 Lily Ladle W/ Gold Bowl