Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    Sheffield (made)

  • Date:

    2003 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Payne, Brett, born 1959 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sterling silver

  • 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 takes its inspiration from natural forms. It is a naturalistic piece shaped as an elegant swan. The long oval blade which forms the body is slightly ridged along its centre creating the back bone of the animal and giving the piece a pleasing sense of balance and symmetry. The handle swoops upwards in a graceful curve to form the neck, finishing with an accurately detailed head with silver eyeball, flattened skull and ridged beak. The texturing of this server exhibits masterly skill. The feather pattern engraving on the blade and handle create a highly effective natural texture and the polished detailing along the back and beak beautifully offset the rougher surface. This simple design strikes a successful balance between beauty and function.

Physical description

The server takes the form of a graceful swan. The head and neck serve as a handle; the body as blade. The bevelled long-oval blade is slightly convex in profile so as to enhance its naturalism and, with the handle, it is completely engraved with simulated feather texture.

Place of Origin

Sheffield (made)


2003 (made)


Payne, Brett, born 1959 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sterling silver

Marks and inscriptions

Sheffield hallmarks for 2003

Mark of Brett Payne


Length: 28.6 cm, Weight: 660 g

Object history note

Fairfax House Fish & Cake Slice exhibition RF.2004/419

Historical significance: Brett Payne describes his creative process as a "continual evolution of thought and interpretation". He believes that the design of a piece is inextricably linked with its manufacture. The interplay between a concept and its realisation in silver is for him the most engaging aspect of his work. His inspiration and initial ideas are shaped and propelled onwards by the nature of the material.

Historical context note

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

Descriptive line

Silver, Sheffield hallmarks for 2003, mark of Brett Payne

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch, Contemporary Silver, Part II: Recent Commissions, Seattle, 2005, pp. 34-5. ill.

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]




Chasing; Engraving (incising)

Subjects depicted



Metalwork; Eating


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.