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Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1994 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, pierced, forged, cast and partly oxidised

  • 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

The strangeness and striking originality of this piece has a magnetic appeal. This piece is the only double-bladed server in the collection. The ingenuity of the contraption recalls the inventions of Victorian entrepreneurs, the under-pull, on a counter-spring, is a small moulded fish. The fish-tail handle is swallowed by the mouth of the blade, a fish-head, resolving the difficult transition with humour. The upper blade is a forged oxidised net, giving a visual texture and depth and enhancing the humorous motif of a caught fish. The piece combines craftsmanship and style with a humorous twist in a unique and individual piece.

Physical description

Double bladed server, the lower sheet blade has a reversed trowel shape. The upper blade is a forged oxidised net that operates on a trigger pull under the handle. The boss is a cast mask of a giant fish head that swallows a part fish handle whose tail shows a remnant of a torn net. The under pull, on a counter spring, is a small, moulded, arched fish. It lifts the net from the lower blade, which is pierced with wave form arcs.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1994 (made)


Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, pierced, forged, cast and partly oxidised

Marks and inscriptions

London hallmarks for 1994

Mark of Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris


Length: 38 cm, Weight: 464 g

Object history note

Historical significance: The artist's aim to unite aesthetic appeal with enjoyment of use is perfectly illustrated in this piece. Smith "believes that the merit of an object… stands on its visual appeal if decorative, or its enjoyment of use if functional".

Historical context note

Part of a collection of fish slices commissioned by Professor Rabinovitch from contemporary North American and British makers.

Descriptive line

Silver, London hallmarks for 1994, mark of Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris.

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch and Helen Clifford, Contemporary Silver, commissioning, designing, collecting, London, Merrell, 2000, pp. 86-7. 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]




Piercing; Forging; Casting; Oxidizing

Subjects depicted

Fish; Net


Metalwork; Eating


Metalwork Collection

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