The spoons brought specialist bidders from all over the UK to the phones at Henry Adams (20% buyer’s premium) at Chichester on January 18.
True to the 19th century socialist ethic of the movement, Ashbee established the Guild and School of Handicraft in 1888 in London’s East End to encourage artisan skills in the slums.
His own work bore the mark of the guild, a stylised carnation, rather than his initials.
Money and bureaucratic problems with the London County Council resulted in the collapse of the guild in 1895. From that point, until the guild re-emerged in rural Chipping Camden from 1902-07, Ashbee’s output bore his own initials and these spoons appear to be among the first from that period.
The cabuchon gemstones to the terminals are a common feature of Arts & Crafts work, but the pierced bowls decorated with trailing flowers, while not unique, are rare enough among Ashbee’s work to make the spoons especially interesting.
One spoon measuring 10in (25cm) and the other two at 7in (18cm) long, they were estimated at £1000-1500 but sold to a collector at £7500.