The most extravagant piece in my collection is the ‘Epergne’. I have researched the web to find the most detailed description of this imposing sterling silver centrepiece.
This is what I managed to find.
An epergne generally has a large central ‘bowl’ or basket sitting on 3 or 5 feet. From this centre ‘bowl’ radiate branches supporting small baskets, dishes or candle holders. An epergne was traditionally made from sterling silver, however from the turn of the century it was also made from glass. There may be between 2 to 7 branches to an epergne.
This large table centrepiece may hold any type of food, and it may also be used as a designer object to hold candles, flowers or ornaments for a holiday. In traditional use it was a fancy way to display side dishes, fruit or sweetmeats.
The origin of the word is probably from French ‘epargne’ meaning ‘saving’, the idea being that dinner guests were saved the trouble of passing the dishes. Also ‘epargner’, to save, from French ‘espargnier’, of germanic origin.
The earliest record of an epergne is in 1725 and extant pieces date from the 1730s. In the late 19th century similar pieces, made largely of glass or porcelain and intended to hold flowers came into fashion.
My design is of a much simpler style in line with todays lifestyle and fits perfectly with my ‘appetite’ collection.
I always find it an inspiring moment when I put the finishing touches to one of these impressive centrepieces and often wonder how the proud owner will use it in their dining room.
Please let me know if you have one and what is your favourite way of using it.
Please look at my website www.jacampbell.co.uk and let me know your favourite item