The Lovespoon Gallery, Mumbles
This gallery was established in 1987 for makers of lovespoons to display and sell their work. Many lovespoons sold in souvenir shops then, as now, were mass produced outside Wales. Gallery founder Patricia Price aimed to show the public how the ancient tradition of hand-crafting spoons was being kept alive in Wales.
In 2002 the gallery supplied a large lovespoon, c.64cm long, to the Wales rugby team as a mascot representing the players’ love for their country. The team still takes the spoon on tour, when it’s entrusted to the youngest member of the squad. The first to take charge of it was hooker Huw Bennett.
The oldest lovespoon in the collection of the National Museum of Wales dates from 1667. The tradition may be even older. Such delicate wooden objects would have been vulnerable to distortion and cracking over the years and most would eventually have been lost or discarded.
Lovespoons were traditionally carved by young men to demonstrate their affection for a young woman. If she accepted the spoon, a relationship might follow. Spoons, used for cooking and eating, were valuable objects in every home before the era of mass-production. Carving a spoon and presenting it to a prospective mate demonstrated the man’s practical abilities.
Visual tokens were usually carved on the handles of lovespoons – ideal for any young man who was too shy to talk to a woman about love. A heart symbolised love and a diamond wealth. A chain represented the carver’s desire for a permanent bond with the recipient.
Postcode: SA3 4BX