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Fish slice

Fish slice

  • Place of origin:

    North Carolina (made)

  • Date:

    2004 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Darty, Linda, born 1952 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sterling silver, fine silver and enamel

  • 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 artist, Linda Darty, describes her work in the following words: "My metalwork is an exploration of form and surface, incorporating my love of colour and graphic imagery. I am inspired by places and people, gardens, wooded paths, the dense foliage of the Florida and North Carolina landscapes. I like to work in silver for its elegance and the sense of preciousness it imparts and to make pieces which function and add celebration to everyday rituals. Graphic details are often etched, creating recesses for rich, soft surfaces of colour. Enamelling allows me to create these surfaces using familiar drawing and painting techniques. The velvety glass surface seems limitless in its possibilities for re-creating nature's palette. I am always astonished at the diverse effects that can be achieved. It is important to me that the pieces I make function in a useful way, adding beauty to everyday rituals, or ceremony to special occasions. My work celebrates my memories."

Physical description

The server is an abstracted, brilliantly coloured fish. It is formed in 3D from carefully designed components of 2D sheet. The balance of the server has been artfully adjusted so that it presents itself to the viewer when laid on a flat surface. Its fabrication is best described by the artist's own explanation: "I knew that I wanted to enamel the server because the word, fish, fills my head with blues, greens, lavenders and silver grays. But it was also important that the server functions well and fitted comfortably in the hand. I wanted it to sit nicely on the table when not in use and the shape and the weight of the handle were critical to this design. A drawing was first made and then transferred to the sterling silver with a resist, before etching in acid. The recessed surfaces were then carved so that after enamelling reflections from the carving would be seen through the surface (basse taille). After the fish piece was formed with hammers, the handle was designed, etched and fabricated from fine silver sheet. The sterling was then depletion gilded in acid, leaving the fine silver to be seen through the enamel. The fish body was inlaid with successive thin layers of transparent enamel with firing between layers at 1500 degrees. The piece was ground smooth and even with diamond sticks and sandpaper. It was hand polished under water using finer grit papers until the satin finish was achieved. The handle was enamelled in the same way. The cap and connection pieces were fabricated. The 'fin' piece was made from sterling that was formed and chased to create the fit and texture. All three pieces were finally joined together with threaded rods and rivets."

Place of Origin

North Carolina (made)


2004 (made)


Darty, Linda, born 1952 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Sterling silver, fine silver and enamel

Marks and inscriptions

No marks


Length: 32 cm, Weight: 380 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 and enamel, USA, Greenville, North Carolina, 2004, designed and made by Linda Darty

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

Benton Seymour Rabinovitch, Contemporary Silver, Part II Recent Commissions, Seattle, RAB Associates, 2005, pp.50-51. 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]


Sterling silver; Fine silver; Enamel


Etching; Enamelling

Subjects depicted



Eating; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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