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Cake slice

Cake slice

  • Place of origin:

    Edinburgh (hallmarked)

  • Date:

    1996 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    McFadyen, Angus, born 1962 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, parcel-gilt, pierced

  • 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 ‘bramble’ server is a restatement of the 18th Century trowel, which is one of several universal shapes that naturally appear if a server is intended to be functional. Beyond that, however, it owes little to precedent, whether in form or ornament. It springs from nature. Texture and contrast are key features. The angular handle, which abstracts a thorned branch, meets a delicately pierced and intricately engraved blade. The finely delineated thorned twiglets and the gilt leaves of the bramble, with their realistic veins, set off the high polish and from of the handle. The decorative nature of the blade recalls the sensitivity of the Arts and Crafts Movement to natural form and stylisation.

Physical description

The trowel shape has a highly rounded blade made from fourteen-gauge (1.6mm) sheet. It is highly pierced with a blackberry bramble leaf, vine and thorn motif. The whole surface is finely line engraved-vines, leaves and thorns-and the leaves are gilded on both top-side pattern. The hollow handle is made in four pieces. It rises from the blade without intermediate lift. It has an angular cusped shape that echoes the vines and thorns. Its underside is rounded for comfort, the upper surface is plain.

Place of Origin

Edinburgh (hallmarked)


1996 (made)


McFadyen, Angus, born 1962 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, parcel-gilt, pierced

Marks and inscriptions

Edinburgh hallmarks for 1996

Mark of Angus McFadyen


Length: 30.5 cm, Weight: 177 g

Object history note

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

Historical context note

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

Descriptive line

Silver, parcel-gilt, Edinburgh hallmarks for 1996, mark of Angus McFadyen

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch and Helen Clifford, Contemporary Silver, commissioning designing collecting, London, Merrell, pp.70-71. 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]


Silver; Gold


Piercing; Parcel gilding


Eating; Metalwork; Scotland


Metalwork Collection

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