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Knife

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1580 - ca. 1603 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Steel with carved ivory and silver and gold damascene

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss E. Jane Urwick, Vauxhall Bridge Road in 1925

  • Museum number:

    M.226-1925

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This knife of ivory with a steel blade damascened in gold and silver, represents a full figure of Queen Elizabeth I of England holding an orb and a sceptre. The object is likely to date from the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century, during Elizabeth I's reign.
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

Knife with an ivory handle carved with a full length figure of Queen Elizabeth I, holding an orb and a sceptre. The ferrule is damascened with gold and silver.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1580 - ca. 1603 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Steel with carved ivory and silver and gold damascene

Marks and inscriptions

a dagger and crowned head
Unidentified marks

'...ZABETH'
on blade in damascened gold and silver; the first three letters of the name now rubbed off

Dimensions

Length: 20.1 cm whole, Length: 6.7 cm ivory alone

Object history note

Given by Miss E. Jane Urwick, Vauxhall Bridge Road in 1925.

Descriptive line

Knife, ivory and steel blade, inscribed in damascened ferrule with gold and silver, carved with a figure of Queen Elizabeth I, British, ca. 1580-1603

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

p. 434
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 434, cat. no. 468

Materials

Steel; Ivory; Silver; Gold

Techniques

Forging (metal forming); Carving; Damascening

Subjects depicted

Sceptres; Orbs; Swords

Categories

Arms & Armour; Metalwork; Tools & Equipment; Accessories

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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