A Chelsea Fork, circa 1750-55

Of pistol-grip shape and small size, the haft is decorated with panels edged with reeding, containing moulded sprays of flowers and foliage. Fitted with three silver tines on a baulster stem. Scalloped silver ferrule. Hallmarks for the silversmith Richard Poulden, London, 1822.

The floral moulding is borrowed from the Meissen Gotzkowsky erhabene Blumen, designed by J.F. Eberlein (1741-44). The design corresponds with the moulded decoration found on some Chelsea Red Anchor plates. It is quite likely that knives and forks such as this would have been used in conjunction with them. The inspiration for this type of decoration derives from Chinese Qianlong wares, which were in turn inspired by Ming (and earlier) use of anhua or ‘veiled’ decoration.

Provenance: An English Private Collection.

Condition: There is a minute chip to the reeding at the curved end of the haft. There are a few tiny areas of discoloration, and also pinholes from firing. No other damage and no restoration.

Dimensions: Length 17 cm (including tines)

A Review of Chelsea, Chelsea, Derby and Derby Knife and Fork Hafts, Tony Stevenson (ECC Transactions, vol. 14, no. 1, 1990).

Cutlery: From Gothic to Art Deco – The J. Hollander Collection, Jan van Trigt (Petraco-Pandora NV, 1999).