Objects of Interest


Medieval Bone-Handled Knife and Sheath 

English, 114th/15th c.

We try not to overuse the word "rare" but it is truly justified here. The knife is a fine example of the cutler's art: two slivers of bone riveted on either side of the steel handle with tiny rivets. Its main use would have been for dining; the pointed tip is designed for spearing morsels of meat -- when forks appeared some 2 or 3 centuries later, knife ends were rounded. The sheath shows it was carried by an individual, not provided by the host. From a major English collection; excavated from the Thames foreshore in 1971.


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Three Medieval Portraits on Bone 

English, 15th c.

A remarkable group of three profile portraits carved on marrow bones. Probably mounted on a table cabinet for valuables. They are so lifelike they might almost be portraits of the family. One of the most exceptional examples of medieval art that we've been able to offer. From an English collection formed in the 1970s.


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Spoon Rack 

Welsh, mid-18th c.

It's the exceptional pierced crest that makes this one stand out! Other good things are the racks that take 12 wide handled spoons; the candlebox with its original, locally-made wire hinges, and the good medium-dark honey color. A nice country piece.


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Chip Carved Candlebox 

English, c.1725

10 out of 10 don't you think? Exceptionally detailed carving, all done with the point of a knife and laid out with compasses -- a long winter's project for someone with equal skill and patience. Embellished with brass studs, flowers and stars. The more closely you look at this, the more you'll see and the more you'll be amazed. The medullary flecks in the beech are similar to the rays in quarter-sawn oak. The beech has been stained to resemble oak.


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Scythe Sharpener 

English, 17th/18th c.

The sort of unregarded tool that never survives. But this one did. Mowers using scythes to cut hay carried the horn sheath on their belt, and used the iron to keep the scythe razor sharp. Age has given the horn a wonderfully tactile texture. The iron is smooth on one side from use, and rough cast on the other. The form is unchanged since the Middle Ages, as the illumination shows.


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