Knife thumbnail 1
Knife thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery

Knife

1660-1680 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This knife would have been carried in a leather case together with a matching fork. The blade with its slight curve and rounded end is a typical Sheffield product. Ivory handles in the form of ladies dressed in contemporary costume were very fashionable in the last quarter of the 17th century.

Manufacture
The two principal centres for the manufacture of cutlery in the 17th century were Sheffield, Yorkshire, and London. Although the blade of this knife was made in Sheffield, it is stamped with the dagger mark used by the Cutlers Company of London. The maker Vigo whose name also appears on the blade is not recorded as a London cutler and was most probably a Sheffield maker. The improper use of London marks was not uncommon in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1624 a Sheffield cutler working in London had some of his knives confiscated because 'they had the dagger counterfeited upon them being Sheffield knives'.

Trade
The facial features on the woman forming the handle are Indian in character, suggesting that the carving was done by a non-European craftsman. It was probably made in Goa on the west coast of India at a time when it was under Portuguese rule. Carvings in ivory like this example were made as luxury items for export to Europe in the latter part of the 17th century, and were done by local Goanese craftsmen.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Steel, with ivory handle
Brief Description
Knife (one of a pair), ivory and steel, wedding kife, probably British, one is dated 1687
Physical Description
The handle is formed of a woman in fashinalble costume of the mid-seventeenth century. The silver ferrule is engraved with the name 'Anne Doyley'. The blade is marked adn stamped with a dagger.
Dimensions
  • Whole length: 21.7cm
  • Width: 3cm
  • Depth: 2cm
  • Ivory alone length: 8.3cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 14/07/1999 by dw
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'Anne Doyley' (engraved on silver ferrule)
  • a dagger (stamped mark of the London Cutlers' Company)
Gallery Label
  • British Galleries: The ivory of this knife handle was carved in Goa, India. European merchants also imported ivory from Africa during the 17th century. Ivory could be delicately carved, but it was also strong and practical. It was particularly fashionable for cutlery handles in the 17th century.(27/03/2003)
  • KNIFE Ivory handle with steel blade. Engraved on the ferrule "Anne Doyly" English; 17th century English 'cabinets of curiosity' combined natural curiosities with the man-made, with particular emphasis on elaborately worked exotic materials. John Trandescant's cabinet contained shells and mother-of-pearl as well as objects of antiquarian interest.
Object history
Bought in 1893 from the Bateman Heirlooms sale (the property of the late W. Bateman Esq. and T. Bateman Esq.. Lomberdale House, Youlgrave, Derbyshire, at Sotheby's London, 14 April, lot 41). Purchased by Mr F.E. Whelan, London, acting as an agent on behalf of the Museum. Said to be from 'Mr Brummell's Collection 1850' in the Sotheby's sale catalogue. However this collection is not mentioned specifically in Douce 1796, which is also cited there, and has not been traced.
Subject depicted
Summary
Object Type
This knife would have been carried in a leather case together with a matching fork. The blade with its slight curve and rounded end is a typical Sheffield product. Ivory handles in the form of ladies dressed in contemporary costume were very fashionable in the last quarter of the 17th century.

Manufacture
The two principal centres for the manufacture of cutlery in the 17th century were Sheffield, Yorkshire, and London. Although the blade of this knife was made in Sheffield, it is stamped with the dagger mark used by the Cutlers Company of London. The maker Vigo whose name also appears on the blade is not recorded as a London cutler and was most probably a Sheffield maker. The improper use of London marks was not uncommon in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1624 a Sheffield cutler working in London had some of his knives confiscated because 'they had the dagger counterfeited upon them being Sheffield knives'.

Trade
The facial features on the woman forming the handle are Indian in character, suggesting that the carving was done by a non-European craftsman. It was probably made in Goa on the west coast of India at a time when it was under Portuguese rule. Carvings in ivory like this example were made as luxury items for export to Europe in the latter part of the 17th century, and were done by local Goanese craftsmen.
Associated Object
523-1893 (Pair)
Bibliographic References
  • Hayward, John F., English Cutlery Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century (Victoria & Albert Museum), London, 1957p. 15, pl. X
  • ‘List of Works of Art Acquired by the South Kensington Museum, During the Year 1893, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices’. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the South Kensington Museum 1892-1895, London: Printed for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1895, p. 69
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013p. 436
  • Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, p. 436, cat. no. 471
Collection
Accession Number
522-1893

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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