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Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    California (made)

  • Date:

    2004 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Smith, Dean Alexander, born 1952 (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 elegant and simple piece was inspired by microscopic aquatic organisms. Five waved prongs flow from the shell-like handle constituting a stabbing implement rather than a cutter. The smooth polished finish enhance the visual elegance and the twisting handle has a pleasing tactile effect. The curvilinear form of this piece perfectly captures the grace of marine life. This piece is a departure from Smith's usual work with steel for large-scale pieces.

Physical description

This server is a "stabber" rather than a cutter or lifter. Five squid like shaped prongs constitute the "blade." They are roughly half the total length. They issue from a tapering screw twist handle, without an intermediate stem. The article has a simple but graceful form that proclaims its marine inspiration.

Place of Origin

California (made)


2004 (made)


Smith, Dean Alexander, born 1952 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sterling silver


Length: 32 cm, Weight: 400 g

Object history note

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

Historical significance: Inspired by the "seemingly infinite variety of life", Smith works with organic forms. Specifically for this piece Smith was inspired by microscopic marine animals and the insight they give us into the origins of life itself. This server is a very successful departure from Smith's usual work with forged and fabricated steel for large-scale pieces.

Historical context note

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

Descriptive line

Sterling silver, USA, Long Beach, California, 2004, designed and made by Dean Alexander Smith.

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch, Contemporary Silver, Part II: Recent Commissions, Seattle, 2005, p. 66-7. 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]



Subjects depicted



Metalwork; Eating


Metalwork Collection

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