What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

butter-knife

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1981,0607.1

  • Description

    Butter knife; silver, with openwork cage handle formed of thick silver wires twisted together and enclosing a silver ball set on a central rod; junction of handle and blade is ornamented with beading, as is the end of the handle, which is set with a cabochon chrysoprase.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1897-1900 (designed;circa)
    • 1900 (made)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 13 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        hallmark
      • Inscription Position

        blade
      • Inscription Content

        e
      • Inscription Comment

        London hallmarks for 1900.
      • Inscription Type

        maker's mark
      • Inscription Position

        blade
      • Inscription Content

        CRA
      • Inscription Comment

        In a shield.
  • Curator's comments

    Text from J Rudoe 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950 A catalogue of the British Museum Collection' 2nd ed. 1994. no. 4.
    Most of Ashbee's designs for metalwork were executed by the Guild of Handicraft, which he established in 1888, initially in London and then in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire from 1902 to 1907. The Guild worked mainly in base metal before about 1896, when silverwares were first exhibited at the Arts & Crafts Society exhibition of that year. Wirework was already a prominent feature of Ashbee's designs and the characteristic twisting of wires to form a handle seems to have appeared from about 1897 (see The Studio 9, 1897, 130 and Art Journal, 1897, 337). Silver balls were also introduced at about this time.
    The mark that appears on this butter knife was entered by Ashbee at Goldsmiths' Hall on 29 January 1896. After the Guild's registration as a limited company, Ashbee entered a second mark, which appears on Rudoe 1991, Cat. 5, in December 1898. Both marks were used around 1900 and there seems to be no significance in the use of one or the other, though it has been suggested that pieces made after 1898 which bear the 'CRA' mark were perhaps farmed out to other makers (S. Bury, 'An Arts and Crafts Experiment: the silverwork of C.R. Ashbee', Victoria and Albert Museum Bulletin, Vol. 111, no.1, January 1967, 6).
    This piece was made during the peak years of the Guild's production of silverwares, around 1900-1; production dropped with the move to Chipping Campden in 1902 and picked up again in 1903. This and Cat. 5 illustrate the wide range of small-wares in production; at this period the Guild produced an almost complete range of tablewares that could match the range of commercial firms, but the competition from the trade and in particular from Liberty's 'Cymric' range introduced in 1901 (see Rudoe 1991, Cat. 133) was one of the causes of the Guild's eventual demise.
    This design is illustrated in a catalogue of the Guild's silverwares of c. 1905-6 (in the V & A Library); it sold for £1 7s. 6d. (Guild of Handicraft Ltd. Silversmiths and jewellers by appointment to her Majesty the Queen, 37). The catalogue records the Guild's two London shops at I6A Brook Street and 67A New Bond Street. For a variant of this butter knife, also date-stamped 1900, but with the maker's mark of the Guild of Handicraft, see Naylor, G, 'The Arts & Crafts Movement, London 1971, pl. 83.
    After the liquidation of the Guild in 1908, the metal workshop was continued by George Hart (see Rudoe 1991, Cat. 121).

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Rudoe 1994 4 bibliographic details
    • Rudoe 1991 4 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G48/dc2

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    3 January 2007

    Treatment proposal

    Clean to improve appearance

    [Renumber]

    Condition

    Light tarnish, Some green corrosion in the join between blade and handle. Powdery green corrosion crystals near to the screw thread. White corrosion deposits near to the stone.

    Treatment details

    Used both White Spirit (composition variable - petroleum distillate) and Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) applied on cotton wool swabs to remove dirt and old cleaning deposits from the detail and hallmarks. Brushed with Hotel silver dip (acidified thiourea) to remove the tarnish. Rinsed with tap water and then cleaned again with distilled water from the steam cleaner. Dried using paper towels. A few more stubborn stains were removed using Silvo silver and chrome (cotton wadding,white spirit,Newburgh chalk,china clay) applied on cotton wool swabs. Removed the residue with White Spirit swabs and finally wiped with paper towels. Used Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone) applied on swabs to remove old registration number. Renumbered with acrylic ink using a fine brush.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1981

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1981,0607.1


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: MCT423

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...