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Place setting
  • Place setting
    Josef Hoffmann, born 1870 - died 1956
  • Enlarge image

Place setting

  • Place of origin:

    Vienna (made)

  • Date:

    1907 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Josef Hoffmann, born 1870 - died 1956 (designer)
    Wiener Werkstätte (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The severe forms and clean, undecorated lines of this cutlery are typical of the early designs of Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956). A distinguished Austrian architect, Hoffmann was also one of the most influential designers of the 20th century.

In 1903, Hoffman and fellow architect and designer Koloman Moser visited England. Here they were inspired by the example of the Guild of Handicraft, a cooperative handicraft workshop set up Charles Robert Ashbee in the East End of London. On returning to Vienna they established the Wiener Werkstätte, and these exclusive Viennese workshops made this cutlery.

At first Hoffman’s metalwork designs for the Werkstätte were severely rectilinear and geometric, owing much to the work of the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. However, towards the 1920s Hoffman’s designs became much more curvilinear.

Physical description

This collection of six pieces from an eleven piece place setting consists of one knife, one fork, one soup spoon, one dessert spoon, one teaspoon, a sugar spoon and a sweet corn holder. With the exception of the sweet corn holder, all the handles have straight sides, tapering inwards towards the top. The handles are elliptical in cross section and terminate with an elliptical dome, slightly inset on the base. On every spoon, the handles slope downwards at the junction with the bowl. The sugar spoon and soup spoon have elliptical bowls. The bowls for the dessert spoon and teaspoon are circular. The outside prongs of the fork taper slightly inward. The prongs themselves have been formed from a curved, oblong bowl with squared corners on the edge at the junction with the handle. The edges of the knife blade follow those of the handle, with the cutting edge curving sharply upwards at the end towards the leading edge. The sweet corn holder consists of an oval piece of metal with indentations on both sides to accommodate the thumb and forefinger and two short prongs at one end.

Place of Origin

Vienna (made)


1907 (made)


Josef Hoffmann, born 1870 - died 1956 (designer)
Wiener Werkstätte (maker)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

All pieces are monogrammed with the engraved initials R, T set within engraved squares, one above the other.

The dessert spoon, as well as having the monogram for the Wiener Werstätte also has marks for Josef Hoffmann and the craftsmen who made the pieces.


Length: 21.4 cm Knife, Width: 1.4 cm Knife, Length: 21.4 cm Fork, Width: 2.1 cm Fork maximum, Length: 21.2 cm Soup spoon, Width: 5.7 cm Soup spoon maximum, Length: 18.2 cm Dessert spoon, Width: 4.0 cm Dessert spoon maximum, Length: 14.5 cm Tea spoon, Width: 2.9 cm Tea spoon maximum, Length: 12.1 cm Sugar spoon, Width: 3.2 cm Sugar spoon maximum, Length: 6.3 cm Sweet corn holder, Width: 3.0 cm Sweet corn holder maximum

Descriptive line

Electroplate, Vienna 1907, made by the Wiener Werkstätte, designed by Josef Hoffmann for the Cabaret Fledermaus.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Moderne Vergangenheit Wien 1800-1900, catalogue number 250, p.316, ill.


Electroplated nickel silver


Electroplating; Stamping


Eating; Metalwork; Tableware & cutlery


Metalwork Collection

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