Ottoman Turkish Sherbet Spoon (1700 to 1800 Turkey)


Mother of Pearl, Coral


Provenance: From the collection of Field Marshall Horatio Kitchener of Khartoum, 1st Earl Kitchener 1850 – 1916
Thence by descent
The majority of the ‘Lord Kitchener of Khartoum’ collection was auctioned in 1938. However, some 70 years later the family found several items laying forgotten in a cellar.
See: Finch & Co catalogue no. 13, item no. 34, for a collection of sixteen and catalogue no. 15, item no. 34, for three other examples
cf: ‘Topkapi the Treasury’ 1987, J M Rogers, 114b for three very similar examples


The Ottomans liked using multiple materials in combination and the craftsmen at the Topkapi Palace produced many luxury items using exotic materials from around the world. Artists, architects and craftsmen engaged in all the various decorative arts were employed within the grounds of the palace. Rather than relying on placing orders with independent masters, the Ottomans kept co-opting the best artists they could find into their own palace workshops. Records show that at the beginning of the 16th century over 360 artisans were employed and that by the end of the century this number had risen to over 1500 craftsmen, all on the payroll of the palace, but by the end of the 18th century their number had been considerably reduced to a mere 186.

Description / Expertise

A Fine Ottoman Turkish Sherbet Spoon with a Mother of Pearl Shell Bowl the Relief Carved Stem of Shell and Coral Surmounted by a Red Coral Branch Finial
Late 18th Century

Size: 23.5cm long, 6.5cm wide – 9¼ ins long, 2½ ins wide