Set of knives
Date Made/Found: around 1677
Material and Medium: iron and steel, silver, ivory
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: Virtual2004.352-357
The dagger mark of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers of London and the maker's mark of a crown are found on five of the six blades in this set. These were probably made by the cutler Paul Browne, who was granted the crown mark in 1677. The remaining blade is struck with an unidentified maker's mark and does not bear the London dagger. It may be a later replacement.
The blades are almost parallel in shape and have an unusual decorative tip, which has been ground to a curving point and may be influenced by earlier Italian designs. This shape of blade is known as drop pointed.
The handles (or hafts) are made from ivory. They have beautiful and intricate decoration of inlaid silver wire in a scrolling design of vines and flowers.
This type of decorated haft was popular in the later 1600s and the technique was often used to personalise hafts with the names of their owners. The hafts were certainly made separately to the blades by a specialist craftsman before being hafted to the set of blades by the cutler.
The use of expensive materials and the amount of specialist labour that has been invested in these pieces means that they were certainly intended for a wealthy consumer market.
These objects form part of the Bill Brown Collection. Supported by The Art Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Friends of Sheffield Galleries & Museums Trust.