ANTIQUE SILVER EPERGNES
Antique Silver epergnes Description:
A type of centerpiece for the dinner table or sideboard, for displaying fruit, flowers, sweets, nuts etc.
Antique Silver epergnes History:
The earliest known examples date from the 1750s, but these are very rare now in original condition. The vast majority were made in the 19th century, but there are examples from the 20th century, and they are still being made today for the larger houses. The word epergne comes from the French word epargner (to save) space on the table.
Antique Silver epergnes Design:
Their shape, style, and size varied tremendously from small vase epergnes that just catered for flowers through to very large examples with many removable baskets and vases of varying sizes to cater for flowers, fruit, sweets, and nuts. Many are characterised by having several branching side arms with small, often pierced, receptacles either attached or suspended, together with a main central receptacle, being either a large bowl, dish, or vase. The added decoration mirrored the style of the period with more ornate examples dating from the Victorian period. Many epergnes were often made with hand-cut crystal bowls designed to catch the colours and internal reflections of candlelight.
Antique Silver epergnes Collectors Note:
Very early examples from the 18th century have to be inspected very closely for repairs and to make sure that all the removable items are original and that nothing is missing. There should be a full or part mark on any removable dish or vase that shoul be the same as on the main stand. If the epergne has vases then make sure that they can hold water if intended for displaying flowers. Look closely at pierced areas to make sure that no pieces are missing. If the epergne has cut-crystal bowls check to make sure that there are no cracks or obvious damage.