Good quality antique fish serving knife and fork with nicely carved ivory handles and embossed silver mounts made in 1884 and 1885 by John Batt of Sheffield.
The knife blade and fork prongs are silver-plated, hand-pierced and engraved with one image showing a fisherman throwing his line. The blade and prongs were made by John Round & Son in Sheffield at the same time.
The precursor to fish servers was the fish slice. Made of silver or silver plate, the fish slice featured a flat, symmetrical blade designed for serving fish at the table and first appeared in the mid-1700s. About 100 years later the Victorians adapted the form to a wide scimitar-shaped blade, often pierced and engraved, with a flat or decorative cast handle, and then accompanied by a wide-tined matching fork. Hence the advent of the silver and silver-plated fish servers.
The best examples of silver and silver-plated fish servers are often finely pierced and embellished with engraved marine motifs, mother-of-pearl or carved ivory handles. Aside from their beauty, they are practical too. The broad blade helps lift the fish while keeping it in one piece, and the sharp point of the blade is useful to peel away fish bones.