- Place of origin:
ca. 1650 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
This ivory handle formed of a standing female nude, her left leg bent with an animal, perhaps a dog. The style of the handle suggests it is Netherlandish, and dates from the mid-seventeenth century.
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.
Handle is carved with a standing female nude figure, her left leg bent, holding a small animal, perhaps a dog. The eyes of both have been slightly hollowed out and painted black.
Place of Origin
ca. 1650 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Length: 8.3 cm
Object history note
Bought from the Soulages Collection in 1859.
Handle of fork or knife, carved ivory, a standing female nude, Netherlandish, ca. 1650
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1860. In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 32
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. Part II. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1929, p. 75
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 427, cat. no. 447
Dog; Animal; Nude female figure
Eating; Household objects; Sculpture; Tableware & cutlery