Here is a total of ten forks and three knives with antique 18th century porcelain handles. On the basis of the style of the molded scrolling ornamentation, they date to the second quarter of the eighteenth century. They are unmarked (as is normal) but almost certainly were made at the porcelain factory of Saint Cloud just outside Paris. A 1741 advertisement by “La Manufacture Royale Des Porcelaines de Saint-Cloud, Ruë de la Madeleine, Faubourg S. Honoré, à Paris” announced all the different items which were made and sold. It includes “toutes sortes de Manches en relief, en couleurs & en bleu pour couteaux, Cuillières & Fourchettes.” The ad then concludes, “Le tout sans sursaire, 1731,” so the factory had been manufacturing handles well before 1741. The metal parts here might be of English workmanship but are probably French, and are also unmarked, but certainly look 18th-century, probably original to the handles. In the 18th century, shagreen-covered wooden cases like this very dilapidated one (the key now missing) were fitted out to contain sets of knives and forks. They were lined with cloth to protect their expensive contents. A case of this kind with similar knives and forks was exhibited by Winifred Williams, London, in July, 1978. Comparable molded examples of this cutlery can be found in Paris at the Musée des arts décoratifs, as well as in England at the Manchester City Art Gallery and the British Museum. See “Connoisseur,” April 1969, p. 248, for two identical fork handles from the Firestone Collection. This original 18th-century case was outfitted to hold an equal number of knife and fork pairs, so it may not be the original case for this set, unless it was originally one of two identical cases holding a larger set, from which many knives and a few forks have disappeared, along with the other case. This is certainly a likely possibility. As you can see, there is now an extra fork that doesn’t fit in the case. The only damage to the handles occurs on two of the knives, which have hairline cracks near the join (shown). I suppose the added pressures put on the knives while cutting made them more susceptible to damage. The metal blades are still extremely sharp and all the metal is in very nice shape. It is hard to find even a single matching knife and fork from this period in good condition, much less a number of pieces with their (very likely) original case. The case is eleven and a half inches by eleven and three-quarters.


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ITEM ID
C423
TYPE
Pottery
PURPOSE
Forks, Knives
ITEM TYPE
Antique

Laureate Antiques

13 St.-Cloud Knives and Forks C1740-45.

$4,650


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