Object Image

In the late nineteenth century, as exotic foods became available through new canning technology and hothouse growing, manufacturers introduced specialized forms to serve them. This fork was designed specifically for serving sardines, and its function informed its decoration. The Shiebler firm was known for making high-quality silver that incorporated novel, cast ornament. This sardine fork sports a realistically rendered fish and seaweed, with an octopus spreading its arms above the tines. The tines are gilt to protect the silver against corrosion from the salt on the fish.

Geography: Made in New York, New York

Culture: American

Period: 19th century

Credit: Gift of Ann and Gilbert H. Kinney, B.A. 1953, M.A. 1954

c. 1885
Parcel-gilt sterling silver
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Yale University Art Gallery
Permanent collection