A Knife and Fork, probably 1775-1800

Of pistol grip form, the hafts are unusually printed in underglaze blue. With its stylised scrolls, lambrequins, and flowers, the pattern appears to be a detailed version of a Saint-Cloud design from the first half of the 18th century. A cell-border is just visible beneath the ferrule. The fork is fitted with three tines on a baluster stem, the electroplated silver knife with a scimitar blade. The knife is marked for John Gilbert, active in Birmingham as a maker of ‘Old Sheffield’ from 1812. Scalloped ferrules.

Without scientific analysis of the paste and glaze, it is difficult to determine whether this knife and fork are of soft paste, hard paste, or hybrid hard paste. Most 18th-century English porcelain manufacturers produced knife and fork hafts to complement their range of plates and dishes. New Hall are known to have used underglaze blue printed patterns on their hafts. More research is called for, but other possible contenders include Champion’s Bristol and Caughley.

Provenance: An English Private Collection.

Condition: No damage or restoration, just wear to the glaze, consistent with use. The fork is tarnished.

Dimensions: Knife length 21.8 cm (including blade); Fork length (including tines) 18.9 cm

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