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Fish slice

1783-1784
Origin: England, London
L: 12 1/8"
Silver (Sterling)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1971-149
Fish slice with filled hollow handle with borders of beading and reeds and scimitar-shaped blade with pierced and engraved pattern of scrolling foliage enclosing an oval reserved engraved with a monogram. Note that the oval reserve is not engraved on the reverse side.
Label:Fish slices with narrower blades, often fish-shaped, replaced those of triangular form about 1780. Knife handles, mainly beaded or reeded and usually joined to the end of the blade by a short bolster, replaced those of spoon type or of turned wood or ivory. As in this instance, handles were often made by specialist makers independently of the blades.

This handsomely pierced and engraved blade of unusual design bears the mark of Hester Bateman, the famous eighteenth-century woman silversmith. From the 1770s to 1790, her firm produced a large and varied body of domestic wares.

Provenance:Vendor: S. J. Shrubsole Corp., New York
Mark(s):Marked in relief on blade near handle: 1) sponsor's mark "HB" in script [see Grimwade (1990), # 961]; 2) lion passant; 3) leopard's head crowned; and 4) date letter "h" for 1783-84.

Also marked in relief on handle: 1) "I•C" in a rectangle, possibly the sponsor's mark of John Chapman II [see Grimwade (1990), # 1213]; and 2) lion passant.
Inscription(s):Sprigged script monogram "JSR" engraved in oval reserve on face of blade.