Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Silver, Room 67, The Whiteley Galleries

Fork

ca. 1890 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

“ The substitution of electro-plate for real silver is now so common in households where the latter would be regarded as a superfluous luxury, that the sternest advocate of true principles in art-manufacture would scarcely require an apology for its use.” (Charles Eastlake, Hints on Household Taste, 1878)

George Richard Elkington and his cousin and partner, Henry Elkington successfully developed electroplating, electrotyping and electrogilding processes from earlier experiments and made them commercially viable. The cousins were not inventors but innovators who, by applying the techniques to industry, revolutionized the silver and plating trades all over the world. In the 1840s, licences to make the new products were sold widely in Britain and abroad to firms such as Christofle & Co. in Paris. Electroplate, a cheaper and more durable substitute for silver, replaced Sheffield plate within ten years and challenged the supremacy of silver on the dining tables and in the drawing rooms of Europe.

The power of the machinery and new technology now at the disposal of the silver industry could produce thousands of identical items to a standard formula of design, quality and price. The focus of silver and silver product manufacture moved from London to the new factories of Birmingham and Sheffield.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Electroplate nickel silver
Brief Description
Fork, electroplated nickel silver, made by William Page, Birmingham, ca. 1890
Physical Description
Old English pattern
Dimensions
  • Length: 16.7cm
  • Maximum width: 2.1cm
  • Depth: 1.8cm
Production typeMass produced
Marks and Inscriptions
WP within a diamond shaped shield / a cross surmounted on a dagger within an oval shield / three balls within a circular shield / a wheatsheaf within an oval shiels / R.d within a diamond shaped shield (Design Registration Mark). (On the back of the stem With the trademarks on the handle of William Page and Company of Birmingham)
Gallery Label
28. FORK Nickel silver Birmingham, around 1897 William Page and Co. With the trademarks on the handle of William Page and Company of Birmingham E. Eatwell Gift M.9-1999(20/01/2000)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Ena Eatwell
Object history
Gift - Ena Eatwell
Production
Reason For Production: Retail
Summary
“ The substitution of electro-plate for real silver is now so common in households where the latter would be regarded as a superfluous luxury, that the sternest advocate of true principles in art-manufacture would scarcely require an apology for its use.” (Charles Eastlake, Hints on Household Taste, 1878)



George Richard Elkington and his cousin and partner, Henry Elkington successfully developed electroplating, electrotyping and electrogilding processes from earlier experiments and made them commercially viable. The cousins were not inventors but innovators who, by applying the techniques to industry, revolutionized the silver and plating trades all over the world. In the 1840s, licences to make the new products were sold widely in Britain and abroad to firms such as Christofle & Co. in Paris. Electroplate, a cheaper and more durable substitute for silver, replaced Sheffield plate within ten years and challenged the supremacy of silver on the dining tables and in the drawing rooms of Europe.



The power of the machinery and new technology now at the disposal of the silver industry could produce thousands of identical items to a standard formula of design, quality and price. The focus of silver and silver product manufacture moved from London to the new factories of Birmingham and Sheffield.
Collection
Accession Number
M.9-1999

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record createdFebruary 16, 2000
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