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Fork handle

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 - ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory and steel with silver mount

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This ivory fork (of a pair with a knife - Mus. No. 438-1873) is made in the Netherlands in about 1700-1750. The handle of the knife depicts two female figures, representing Hope and Faith, while the handle of the present object depicts Justice and Abundance.
Knives have been used since prehistoric times, but the history of knives, forks and spoons for eating in Europe probably commenced in the fourteenth century, and their use became accepted by the sixteenth century. Until the late seventeenth century it seems to have been common practice for people to carry their own cutlery, often in a leather case.
Ebony, ivory, fish skin, tortoiseshell, amber, bone, horn and shell were all popular for decorating cutlery. Around 1730 ceramic handles were introduced to Europe from China. Although cutlers were required by their guilds to be able to make a complete knife, handles of carved ivory, silver, bronze and glass were usually imported or made by specialist craftsmen.

Physical description

Handle carved with representations of Justice and Abundance.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)


ca. 1700 - ca. 1750 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ivory and steel with silver mount

Descriptive line

Fork handle, carved ivory, with figures of Justice and Abundance, Netherlands, ca. 1700-1750


Ivory; Steel; Silver


Household objects; Accessories; Tableware & cutlery; Eating


Metalwork Collection

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