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Fish slice

Object Number: 
1937.193
Date: 
ca. 1825
Medium: 
Silver, wood
Dimensions: 
Overall: 12 3/8 x 3 1/8 x 3/4 in. ( 31.4 x 7.9 x 1.9 cm )
Marks: 
engraved: on the joint: "PG" in script
Description: 
Pierced silver fish slice with turned wood handle; broad, flat, spear-shaped blade has two bands of foliate scroll pierced work around an engraved fish stamped with flowers along its body; raised scalloped edge along side of blade; oval joint engraved "PG" in script above molded handle socket; long, ovoid, wood handle has a silver cap; no maker's hallmarks.
Gallery Label: 
American wealth increased during the years after the Revolutionary War, and with it came a heightened interest in formal dining. Those affluent enough to afford larger homes and luxury goods also acquired an array of specialized utensils for social dining. One of the first of these forms to become popular was the fish slice, which was available in silver in England by the mid-eighteenth century. Also known as fish trowels, the first silver examples were flat triangular servers used interchangeably for fish, puddings, and cakes. This fish slice is engraved with the initials of Philip Grim (1766-1821), the son of the David Grim (1737-1826), the German-born proprietor of the Hessian Coffee House. The two men were partners as commission merchants by 1794, engaged in the coastal packet trade. As a successful merchant, Philip Grim certainly had ready access to fresh fish. Although silver fish slices were made by New York and Philadelphia silversmiths, Grim opted for one made in fashionable English fused plate.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. Constance Schermerhorn Skillin
Provenance: 
Philip Grim (1766-1821), who married Elizabeth Daddy (ca. 1785-1859); to their daughter Maria Isabella Grim (1808-1890), who married George Stevens Schermerhorn (1807-1885); to their son Charles Augustus Schermerhorn (1839-1914), who married Louise Schermerhorn (1849-1924); to their daughter E. Constance Schermerhorn (Mrs. James Harper Skillin, 1886-1981), the donor.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group