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Knife and fork: MAR.M.140A & B-1912

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Silversmith: AB
Cutler: KBa (Possibly)




Silver and steel; the steel blade with cast silver handle terminating in the mask of a woman; the two tined fork with similar handle

Silver and steel; the knife had a broad steel blade which tapers to a point at the tip, and a polymorphic facetted bolster. The silver handle is cast in two halves and is of square section with a band of stiff leaves round the middle and a scrolled terminal underneath which is the mask of a woman. The fork has two long facetted and notched steel tines on a bolster and handle similar to those of the knife.


History note: Not known before testator

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • Padua ⪼ The Veneto ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


18th Century, Early#
Circa 1700 - Circa 1750


Label text from the exhibition ‘Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 26 November 2019 until 31 August 2020: Carving in alto (aloft) was a spectacle enjoyed at elite tables. The highly skilled carver (trinciante in Italian) performed his sleight of hand by spearing the meat or fowl with the fork and slicing it cleanly with as few cuts as possible. This elegant carving set is similar to that illustrated in the Trincir-Buch (displayed nearby). The fork’s long, facetted, and notched steel tines would have been strong enough to hold a roasted fowl or joint aloft while the knife, with its lethally sharpened broad blade, made the cuts. The square-sectioned silver handles would have helped to ensure a firm grip for the carver as the meat juices dripped down.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Handle composed of silver
Blade composed of steel
Fork Length 25.3 cm
Knife Length 28.9 cm

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: AB
  • Location: On the top of the finial of the knive and fork
  • Method of creation: Struck
  • Type: Maker's mark
  • Text: KBa
  • Location: On the bolster of the knife
  • Method of creation: Engraved
  • Type: Initials

Inscription present: a circular cartouche containing a swan?

  • Location: On the top of the finial of the knive and fork
  • Method of creation: Struck
  • Type: Town mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.M.140A & B-1912
Primary reference Number: 167091
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 25 November 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Knife and fork" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-18 12:31:58

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{{cite web|url= |title=Knife and fork |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-18 12:31:58|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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