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Fork

Fork

  • Place of origin:

    north europe (made)

  • Date:

    1680-1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gilded sheet silver with silver filigree and enamel overlay

  • Museum number:

    2248A-1855

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

In the 17th century it was not yet common for hosts to provide cutlery when entertaining guests to dinner. Most guests had their own personal eating implements, usually a knife and spoon, with a fork increasingly included towards the end of the century, which were carried in a fitted case. The culture of the day demanded that these ‘should not be merely polished and abundant but also rare and distinct.’ It was the sign of a gentleman that he possessed cutlery made of unusual and valuable materials.

Many knives, forks and spoons of this period have handles of agate, ivory, or other precious materials. In the second half of the century filigree joined that list. The handles made of filigree are the same shape and construction as those using other exotic materials, with a central tang, linking the functional part to the grip, held securely in place by a stud at the top of the handle. They are often lined with gilded sheet silver, as here, to set off the white silver filigree overlay and hide the tang. The filigree work on this fork is further embellished with painted enamel flowers.

Physical description

Silver gilt two pronged fork with a round stem. There is a baluster on the stem above the pronged part, and the top portion of the stem, above the baluster, is covered by a silver filigree overlay. There is a matching domed silver filigree rosette over the top of the stem. The filigree is decorated with painted enamel flowers and leaves.

Place of Origin

north europe (made)

Date

1680-1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Gilded sheet silver with silver filigree and enamel overlay

Descriptive line

Two-pronged silver-gilt fork with filigree and enamel casing, Northern Europe, 1680-1700.

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

For a Swedish tankard made by Rudolf Wittkopf in Stockholm in 1696, with the same kind of filigree, and painted enamel flowers with granule stamens, see:
Hernmarck, Carl, 'Svenskt silversmide, 1520-1850', 1941-1945, vol 1, fig 478.

Materials

Silver; Silver-gilt

Techniques

Enamelling; Filigree

Categories

Metalwork; Tableware & cutlery

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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