William Eley the elder and William Fearn
Grape scissors were amongst the plethora of new articles in silver produced in the decades around 1800, quickly becoming very popular and an essential accoutrement for a fashionable household. This sterling silver, gilded example features a right-angled cutting edge to one of the blades allowing the severed stalk to be clamped between the blades and the grapes brought to the diner's plate without falling onto the table, provided of course they were used the right way round.
Sterling silver, gilded grape-scissors. William Eley I and William Fearn, 1820-1 The scissors have cast and chased reed-and-tie lower stems above which are grapes and vine leaves against matted grounds with applied oval reeded handles (same as NT 852102.210). The pivot is circular, with a cast knurled surround to the tightening screw, and the blades are slightly curved, together giving the appearance of a bird’s head. The blades are thick and one has an applied, right-angled cutting edge.
5th Earl (subsequently 1st Marquess) of Bristol; by descent to the 4th Marquess. Acquired by the National Trust in 1956 under the auspices of the National Land Fund, later the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Marks and inscriptions
On the inside faces of the blades are punched the monarch's head, lion passant, date letter 'e' and maker's mark 'WE' over 'WF' in a square punch.
Makers and roles
William Eley the elder and William Fearn, silversmiths
James Rothwell, Silver for Entertaining: The Ickworth Collection. Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016, pp. 206-7