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Knife and fork

Knife and fork

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Green-stained bone, with steel blade and tines

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J. H. Fitzhenry

  • Museum number:

    1017&A-1902

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118a, case 5 []

Object Type
Until the 17th century, it was the custom for guests to bring their personal cutlery, but by the 18th century knives and forks were provided in matching sets by the host. The basic form of knives and forks had also become standardised by this date.

Design
By the mid-18th century, table knives and forks were usually made in sets and decorated to match the rest of the cutlery. By the end of the 18th century the standard pistol-shaped haft (handle) gave way to straighter, flat-ended hafts. Forks generally had smaller hafts. The knife blade is usually of sabre, or scimitar, shape. The steel blades and shanks have a 'tang' or rod at the base that fits into the hollow handle, which is then packed with resin. The junction between haft and blade is fitted with a small metal collar, or 'ferrule'.

Materials & Making
A wide range of materials have been employed as hafts since the early 17th century. Ivory and bone remained popular into the 19th century, when it became fashionable to stain them a characteristic green.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Green-stained bone, with steel blade and tines

Object history note

Made in England by an unidentified maker

Descriptive line

Knife and fork with bone handles

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Ivory and bone have been popular materials for cutlery hafts (handles) since the Roman period. They were sometimes elaborately carved, but in the 18th century designs became simpler. Unadorned hafts, stained green by vegetable dye, were among the most popular. [27/03/2003]

Categories

Tableware & cutlery; Metalwork; Eating

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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