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Knife and fork

Knife and fork

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    1590-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved silver and nielloed handles

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Metalware, Room 116, The Belinda Gentle Gallery, case DR6 []

The engraved figures and biblical scenes are these items are based on designs by the 16th-century Flemish engraver Theodore de Bry. Lustrous black niello provides a strong contrast with the bright silver. Niello is a powdered mixture of black metal sulphides. It was pushed into the engraved lines and fused by heat. The surface was then polished.

Cutlers specialised in making blades. They trained as apprentices for up to seven years, working for a freeman cutler who housed and fed them. In England a cutler would have to prove himself as bladesmith and hafter (maker of handles) in order to obtain the freedom of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, gain his own mark and set up his own business.

Many cutlers acted as middlemen who bought blades from bladesmiths, handles from hafters and sheaths from sheathers. They assembled the cutlery themselves and sold them under their own names.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)


1590-1600 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved silver and nielloed handles

Descriptive line

Wedding knife and fork, silver and niello handles, The Netherlands, 1590-1600.


Silver; Iron; Steel


Engraving; Niello


Metalwork; Tableware & cutlery


Metalwork Collection

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