Not currently on display at the V&A

Fish Slice

1994 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silver, pierced, forged, cast and partly oxidised
Brief description
Silver, London hallmarks for 1994, mark of Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris.
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.
Dimensions
  • Length: 38cm
  • Weight: 464g
Marks and inscriptions
  • London hallmarks for 1994
  • Mark of Dennis Smith and Gareth Harris
Gallery label
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)
Credit line
Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Professor B. Seymour Rabinovitch
Object history
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
Part of a collection of fish slices commissioned by Professor Rabinovitch from contemporary North American and British makers.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic reference
Benton Seymour Rabinovitch and Helen Clifford, Contemporary Silver, commissioning, designing, collecting, London, Merrell, 2000, pp. 86-7. ill. ISBN.1858941040
Other number
LOAN:AMERICANFRIENDS.103-2005 - previous loan number
Collection
Accession number
M.76-2008

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Record createdJuly 10, 2007
Record URL
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