CANADIAN HERITAGE SILVER by Marie A. Refaussé

CANADIAN HERITAGE SILVER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The first full-color photographic encyclopedia of heritage silver spoons spanning the breadth of Canada.

The seed for this book was planted in 1967 when Refaussé purchased a few silver spoons in Calgary on her way to attend Expo 67 in Montreal. Over the next 30-plus years, she and her husband amassed a collection of spoons from all across their vast country. Organized geographically, the book opens with spoons of the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island on the country’s eastern coast and then gradually moves west, ending in British Columbia on Canada’s Pacific shore. The provinces and territories are all represented by sections, as is the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor, an urbanized region in the province of Alberta. The photographs clearly display the intricate detailing of the spoons’ handles, as well as engraved names and scenes in the spoons’ bowls. (The author provides small, offset photos in cases where this detailing is overshadowed or unclear in the primary picture.) Rounding out the collection is a page dedicated to provincial and Canadian crests, along with a photo of the Sister City Trophy (a work of silver and carved wood commissioned by the city of Burnaby, British Columbia, in honor of its sister city of Kushiro, Japan). The trophy seems a little out of place given the rest of the book’s undeterred focus on spoons, but a note on the back cover flap explaining that Refaussé designed the trophy explains its inclusion as a sort of culmination of a life spent in silver. Finally, the book presents a list of silver manufacturers and companies, including company symbols, locations and dates of operation. Even those not predisposed to souvenir collecting (though the spoons are now available for sale—inquiries can be made by fax to 604-597-1881) will be astonished by some of the spoons Refaussé has accumulated, particularly the beautifully rendered pick-and-shovel spoons representative of the Yukon. In her foreword, the author alludes to the rich Canadian history encapsulated in these silver treasures, and while the history lesson would have benefited from additional text to provide some context for the images, the craftsmanship of the spoons is a reward unto itself.

An impressive and enjoyable collection.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0981334608
Page count: 102pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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