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Fork

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1660-1685 (made)
    post 1680 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Steel with carved ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs H. Farquhar

  • Museum number:

    M.65-1925

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fork of ivory and steel represents King Charles II (1630-1685; r. 1660-85), crowned and holding a sceptre. The object is likely to be contemporary with his reign.
Knives have been used since prehistoric times, but the history of knives, forks and spoons for eating in Europe probably commenced in the fourteenth century, and their use became accepted by the sixteenth century. Until the late seventeenth century it seems to have been common practice for people to carry their own cutlery, often in a leather case.
Ebony, ivory, fish skin, tortoiseshell, amber, bone, horn and shell were all popular for decorating cutlery. Around 1730 ceramic handles were introduced to Europe from China. Although cutlers were required by their guilds to be able to make a complete knife, handles of carved ivory, silver, bronze and glass were usually imported or made by specialist craftsmen.

Physical description

Fork with an ivory handle carved with the crowned figure of Charles II in Garter mantle with sceptre and sword.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1660-1685 (made)
post 1680 (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Steel with carved ivory

Dimensions

Length: 15 cm whole, Length: 6.5 cm ivory alone

Object history note

Given by Miss Helen Farquhar, Belgrave Square, London, in 1925.

Descriptive line

Fork, ivory and steel, carved with the crowned figure of Charles II, the tines are probably later than the handle, England, 1660-1685

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

p. 15, pl. X
Hayward, John F., English Cutlery Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century (Victoria & Albert Museum), London, 1957
pp. 435, 436
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, pp. 435, 436, cat. no. 470

Materials

Steel; Ivory

Techniques

Forging; Carving

Subjects depicted

Swords; Order of the Garter; Sceptres

Categories

Arms & Armour; Metalwork; Tools & Equipment; Accessories

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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