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Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    Virginia (made)

  • Date:

    2004 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wyancko, Ronald J., born 1938 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sterling silver, pierced, chased and punched

  • 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 contours of this asymmetric piece are suggestive of a flouncing fish. The blade is in the form of a kidney, the handle rises on a positively-cusped, skewed elliptical conical shape, enhancing the asymmetrical aesthetic. The handle is unusually finished with a fold-over tab at the butt end of the finial. The contemporary form is combined with traditional decorative silversmithing techniques. The blade is chased and punched with a biblically resonant depiction of two fish and five barley loaves, referencing "the feeding of the five thousand". The rich detailing offsets the plain highly polished handle. The inviting contours of the handle contrast the intricacy of the blade, creating a balanced piece that shows artistic skill and a graceful sense of proportion.

Physical description

The blade is of modified kidney shape and was cut from a 14 gauge sheet. It is highly pierced in an overall fish pattern that is richly embellished with chased and punched motifs. Two fish and five barley loaves are depicted. The shell formed closed hollow handle is curved so as to emphasize the overall asymmetry of the article. It has an elongated, swollen cusped contour. The expected vent hole is not to be found; its task is fulfilled by a novel fold-over tab at the butt end of the finial. The handle rises from the blade on a positively-cusped, skewed elliptical conical shape.

Place of Origin

Virginia (made)


2004 (made)


Wyancko, Ronald J., born 1938 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sterling silver, pierced, chased and punched

Marks and inscriptions

Mark: RW for Ronald J. Wyancko



Length: 30.5 cm, Weight: 308 g

Object history note

Historical significance: Wyancko revels in his control over his materials and delights in the variety of techniques available such as chasing, piercing, soldering and mokumé. Often his work has narrative designs "because it makes the object so much more personal".

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, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 2004, designed and made by Ronald J. Wyancko.

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch, Contemporary Silver, Part II: Recent Commissions, Seattle, 2005, pp. 70-71. 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]




Piercing; Chasing; Punching

Subjects depicted

Fishes; Loaf


Metalwork; Eating


Metalwork Collection

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