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Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    Atlanta (made)

  • Date:

    1992 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Woodman, Julia, born 1933 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sterling silver with gilt handle and citrine stone

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Professor B. Seymour Rabinovitch

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This server exemplifies a universal elegance of line and shape, creating a timeless design that recalls a complexity of past traditions. The shape of the blade is in the form of the eighteenth century Dutch server, given a contemporary twist by the two positive cusps on either side that subtly echo the tessellated pattern of the handle. The symmetry of the large, pierced double-foliate junction that joins the blade and handle offers an easy grace. The handle consists of pressed disks in a honeycomb tessellated structure enhanced with a honey-coloured gild. The decorative texture of this effect on the handle complements the simpler design of the blade while the negative space suggested by the tessellated pattern and the pierced blade links the two portions. The gilt of the handle and the bezel at its end embedded with a citrine stone create a sense of natural splendour.

Physical description

The forged blade has the transverse oval shape of the 18th century Dutch fish slice, but is teased to positive cusps on each side. The handle stem is applied to a large, pierced, double foliate junction on the top of the blade. The handle is of cannon shape made from pressed discs to produce a honey comb tessellated structure and gilded to emphasize the both the honey connection and to obviate the need for cleaning. The handle terminates in a bezel with a citrine stone that complements the gilding.

Place of Origin

Atlanta (made)


1992 (made)


Woodman, Julia, born 1933 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sterling silver with gilt handle and citrine stone

Marks and inscriptions

JW for Julia Woodman

Sterling mark


Length: 32.5 cm, Weight: 354 g

Object history note

Historical significance: The new technique applied here called "three-dimensional tessellation" inspired this design. Julia Woodman aimed to create a server that served its function yet could also "stand alone as a work of art, a sculpture".

Historical context note

Commissioned by Professor Benton Seymour Rabinovitch for his collection of contemporary fish slices given to the Victoria and Albert Museum through the American Friends in 2005.

Descriptive line

Sterling silver with gilt handle and citrine stone, USA, Atlanta, designed and made by Julia Woodman

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch and Helen Clifford, Contemporary Silver, commissioning, designing, collecting, London, Merrel, 2000, pp.150-151. ill. ISBN.1858941040

Labels and date

This collection of silver slices, all commissioned over a period of twenty years by Professor Benton Seymour Rabinovitch FRS, is proof of the skill and diversity of contemporary silversmiths. Each artist craftsman has responded to the familiar functional form of the slice in an individual way, producing an astonishingly diverse range of interpretations. Each piece becomes an enchanting, decorative work of art. Professor Rabinovitch established a close rapport with each artist, always encouraging a freedom of creative expression. The response of these silversmiths has been not only to be strikingly imaginative but also to honour him by giving him their best work.

This collection is testimony to the significant contribution that one individual can make to supporting the craft of silversmithing. After commissioning work from some of the most illustrious names in British and North American silversmithing, Professor Rabinovitch has very generously donated his entire collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum, through the American Friends of the V&A. [2005]


Silver; Gold; Citrine




Metalwork; Eating


Metalwork Collection

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