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Handle of knife

Handle of knife

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1650 - ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory with gilt metal mounts and amber bead

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This handle of a knife is of carved ivory and made in Germany in about 1650-1700.
Carved are two puttis surrounded by various fruits. 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

Two putti, one standing, the other kneeling at his feet, are surrounded by various fruits (pomegranates, grapes etc.). At the top is an amber bead and below a gilt metal mount.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


ca. 1650 - ca. 1700 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory with gilt metal mounts and amber bead


Length: 8.5 cm whole, Length: 6.5 cm ivory alone

Object history note

From the Murray bequest in 1910.

Descriptive line

Handle of a knife or fork, ivory, gilt metal mounts, two putti with various fruit, German, ca. 1650-1700

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

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 163
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 93
p. 420
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 420, cat. no. 428


Ivory; Gold; Amber


Carving; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Naked boys; Fruit; Putti; Acanthus


Sculpture; Accessories; Food vessels & Tableware; Eating


Sculpture Collection

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