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Pair of wedding knives

Pair of wedding knives

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1639 (dated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Spitser, Peter (cutler)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Steel blades with amber and ivory handles, gilt brass finials and silver encrusted ferrules

  • Museum number:

    M.444 to B-1927

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Originally it was customary for a pair of knives to be given as part of a bridal trousseau. Later on, a matching knife and fork was given instead. The practice of giving knives first started in England during the reign of Henry VIII (1509-47), but the custom has longer traditions on the Continent. Marriage contracts in the mid 14th century record the ‘attest of knife’. This practice derived from the convention of presenting a purchaser with a knife when conveying property.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1639 (dated)


Spitser, Peter (cutler)

Materials and Techniques

Steel blades with amber and ivory handles, gilt brass finials and silver encrusted ferrules

Marks and inscriptions

A unicorn's head mark for Peter Spitzer, two references in the minutes of the Cutler's Company in 1621 and 1662. See Welch vol. II. p.42

Inscribed and Painted

Object history note

Bought from Miss E. M. Ashworth in 1927

Descriptive line

Pair of wedding knives and case, London, blades by Peter Spitser, dated 1639.

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

Trusted, Marjorie. Catalogue of European Ambers in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985. 119 p., ill. ISBN 0948107138.

Production Note

Dated 1639.

Subjects depicted

Dog; Hare; Fruit


Tableware & cutlery; Textiles; Marriage


Metalwork Collection

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