Spoons and knives are of immense antiquity. Although both were used at the dinner table, people kept using their hands during dinner, even in the highest circles. Forks appeared much later. Fourteenth century examples are known, which were used for candied fruits. However only after 1700 they gradually came into use at the table.
Until the mid 18th Century knife, spoon and fork were personal objects and every guest brought his own cutlery. This personal aspect is clearly illustrated by the inscriptions and coat-of-arms on many of the surviving examples. Only the well to do could afford silver or, in very exceptional cases, gold sets.
Table silver, as we know it today, finds its origin in 16th Century Italy with the introduction of the fork at the dinner table and was further developed in France. Here the habit developed to provide every guest with a matching spoon and fork. After 1700, when France had established herself firmly as the centre of artistic creation, this custom spread over the rest of Europe .
The maker's mark of the present personal set, which is probably still in its original case, was not identified by Elias Voet (Voet, 1912, no. 148) . Citroen identified the maker as Isaac de Paauw (Citroen 1975, no. 429) . De Paauw was born in 1716 in Leiden and became a goldsmith in Amsterdam in 1716. In the same year he married Geertruyd, a daughter of goldsmith Johannes de Wit. In 1742 he was settled as a jeweller at Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. He died after 1769. He is known to have made bible clasps. The set formed part of the 1963-1964 exhibition Nederlands Goud . In the exhibition catalogue the maker's mark is by mistake read as I5 in monogram, but should be read as IdP in monogram.
 Benthem, B.J. van, Twee eeuwen van tafelzilver. De Amsterdamse zilversmeden Helweg 1753-1965, Zwolle, 1993, pp.20-25 and 54-57
Wttewaal, B.W.G. Nederlands Klein Zilver en Schepwerk, 1650-1880, Abcoude, 1994, pp.174-196
 Voet, E., Merken van Amsterdamse Goud- en Zilversmeden, 's-Gravenhage, 1912, no. 148
 Citroen, K.A., Amsterdamse Zilversmeden en hun Merken, Amsterdam, 1975, no. 429
 Exh.cat., Nederlands Goud, Utrecht, Nederlands Goud- en Zilvermuseum, Den Haag, Haags Gemeentemuseum, 1963-1964, no. 28, describing the present lot