Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Silver, Room 65, The Whiteley Galleries

Fish Slice

1814-1815 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This fish slice would have been part of a silver table service. By the time it was made in 1814 to 1815 almost every flatware service included such a slice. The advantage of silver was that it did not taint the delicate flavour of the fish. The pierced decoration also allowed any liquid to drain away.

The fish slice evolved from the ‘Pudding Trowle’, such as the one supplied to the Earl of Kildare in 1745. The ‘trowle’ normally consisted of a triangular blade which was pierced and sawn to various designs. It was soon used for fish as well as pudding. By the 1770s, when it was suddenly fashionable to eat whitebait, silversmiths supplied a large number of trowels both with fish-shaped outlines and also pierced and chased to represent one. The earliest trowels usually had solid silver handles. Later examples had turned and stained ivory handles.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silver
Marks and Inscriptions
  • William and Samuel Knight
  • Crest
  • Crest unidentified, a hand grasping a spear
Gallery Label
9. FISH SLICE London, 1814-15 Mark of W & S. Knight Slices or trowels for serving fish are recoded from about 1730. Shaped like the fin of a fish, the decorative openwork made by saw cutting enabled the juices to drain. Silver was a preferable material to copper or tinned iron as it did not affect the delicate flavour of the fish. Miss Campbell of Jura Gift M.31-1957(26/11/1996)
Credit line
Given by Miss M.R. Campbell
Object history
Acquisition RF: 57 / 982

Gift - Miss M R Campbell of Jura
Summary
This fish slice would have been part of a silver table service. By the time it was made in 1814 to 1815 almost every flatware service included such a slice. The advantage of silver was that it did not taint the delicate flavour of the fish. The pierced decoration also allowed any liquid to drain away.



The fish slice evolved from the ‘Pudding Trowle’, such as the one supplied to the Earl of Kildare in 1745. The ‘trowle’ normally consisted of a triangular blade which was pierced and sawn to various designs. It was soon used for fish as well as pudding. By the 1770s, when it was suddenly fashionable to eat whitebait, silversmiths supplied a large number of trowels both with fish-shaped outlines and also pierced and chased to represent one. The earliest trowels usually had solid silver handles. Later examples had turned and stained ivory handles.
Collection
Accession Number
M.31-1957

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record createdMarch 3, 2004
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