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The Scot-Burnet-Browne-Bassett knife

1600-1620
Origin: Netherlands and New York
Length: 7 1/2" OH: 5/16" OW (blade): 1 1/8" Weight: 38.5 grams
Silver
Purchase funded through gifts in memory of Fred Howard.
Acc. No. 2010-118,A
Knife with an early 17th c. silver handle and a circa 1835 silver replacement blade. A small turned knop, perhaps to help secure the now-missing original blade, once topped the handle.

The ornate silver handle is of tapering rectangular section, and is topped off by openwork "S" and "C" scrolls, the former of which are engraved with bird head terminals. While one side panel is engraved with the name of the original owner, Apollonius Scot, the other is engraved with "First to look, and then to see" in German. Its two wider sides of the handle are each covered with four engraved panels, including allegorical figures amongst natural scenes and architectural settings. With titles like "AMOR" (love), "PIETAS" (piety) and "CONCORS" (harmony), these engravings are meant to be moralistic, and may be intended to relate to the marriage of Apollonius Scot and Maria Vanderhoog, his bride.

Label:Dating to the opening years of the 17th century, this knife commemorates the marriage of Admiral Apollonius Scott (a Dutchman of Scottish descent) and Maria Vanderhoog. From there it descended directly through nine generations in the Burnet (Governor of NY and NJ in the 1720s), Browne (of Salem, MA), Bassett (Hanover Co., VA) and Washington families.

The ornate silver handle is of tapering rectangular section, and is topped off by openwork "S" and "C" scrolls, the former of which are engraved with bird head terminals. While one side panel is engraved with the name of the original owner, Apollonius Scot, the other is engraved with "First to look, and then to see" in German. Its two wider sides of the handle are each covered with four engraved panels, including allegorical figures amongst natural scenes and architectural settings. With titles like "AMOR" (love), "PIETAS" (piety) and "CONCORS" (harmony), these engravings are meant to be moralistic, and likely relate to the marriage of the original owners. A small turned knop, perhaps to help secure the now-missing original blade, once topped the handle.

Although the handle dates to the beginning of the 17th century, the silver blade is a replacement. Interestingly, when it was in the possession of Ella Bassett Washington (a great-great-granddaughter of William Browne) in 1896, it was described as being only a handle. Thus, it would seem the replaced blade, which was made ca. 1835 by the New york silversmith Baldwin Gardiner, was added sometime during the early part of the 20th century.
Provenance:Dating to the opening years of the 17th century, this knife commemorates the marriage of Admiral Aopollonius Scott (a Dutchman of Scottish descent) and Maria Vanderhoog. From there it descended directly through nine generations in the Burnet (Governor of NY and NJ in the 1720s), Browne (of Salem, MA), Bassett (Hanover Co., VA) and Washington families.
Mark(s):The silver replacement blade bears four relief marks, struck in immitation of London sterling hallmarks. From left to right, these marks are: "B•G" separated by a pellet (for Baldwin Gardiner), the "monarch's head" to right, the "lion passant" to right and a spurious date letter "D."
Inscription(s):The sides of the handle are engraved with the name of the original owner "APOLLONIUS + SCOT" and "Erst sien end dan betrachten," German for "First to look, and then to see."