98	A Fine French Silver and Bloodstone Agate Two Pronged Serving or Carving Fork

98 A Fine French Silver and Bloodstone Agate Two Pronged Serving or Carving Fork

1600 to 1800 French

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98 A Fine French Silver and Bloodstone Agate Two Pronged Serving or Carving Fork, the
handle overlaid with silver gilt cage-work decorated with gambolling cherubs and with a white and gold enamel band inscribed ‘amitie’
Late 17th Century

Size: 19 cm long – 7½ long
Provenance: Ex Private Chicago collection
In the late 17th century the new French fashion for ‘Dîner Intime’ began to supplement the highly ceremonial princely feast.
A royal household would have officers of noble birth as ushers, carvers and sewers whose duties combined that of head-waiter and wine-taster, all attending at a banquet. At the coronation feast of Ann Boleyn the sewer was the Earl of Sussex and the carver, the Earl of Essex who carved 28 first courses, 24 second courses and 33 third course dishes !.
The art of carving was then a vital courtly skill as royal feasts would consist almost entirely of roast meats. In 1581 a treatise on the art of carving ‘Il Triciante’ was published in Venice. It revealed that there existed different national habits of carving which influenced the shape of the implements. Serving and carving cutlery became part of the spectacle of these feasts and was thus often the finest mounted and the most splendidly decorated of all the cutlery.
Dimensions
Height 19.00 cm (7.48 inches)
Medium
Silver and Bloodstone Agate and white and gold enamel band
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