Saturday, September 11, 2010

Epergnes AREN'T For Beginners

If one reads a plethora of books dealing with the minutia of Victorian Era bric-à-brac, vinaigrettes, chatelaines and the like, one usually, eventually, runs the gamut to the other end of the spectrum, and careers into that supreme objet a jest, the epergne. Epergnes are operas where operettas suffice.

In an era of conspicuous consumption, having a grand epergne as the centerpiece of your dining table was the equivalent of placing a fully loaded fin tailed Cadillac between the rose bowls. They seem to be just a bit much. However, I think not.

In a world where craftsmanship and artistry have been sidelined by Japanese and Chinese efficiency, the epergne stands tall as an ultimate fulfillment of utilitarian beauty and excess. The assemblage of bowls and candelabra made from silver and crystal are now less a Victorian indulgence and more a cenotaph to a way of life that was both an ideal and idealized.  With this reverence for past exuberant excess, I most heartily exhort those who are able to purchase one to do so. Keeping it on the sideboard and using it as candy bowls is a lovely way to pay tribute to its illustrious past and utilitarian present.  The picture I have chosen is of a lovely epergne. It is a pity it does not have a mirror plateau. Sometimes the lily demands to be gilded.


  1. Utterly fabulous. First, making me haul out the dictionary (o.k. I didn't really, but I still had to look up a few words). AND, even more important, you have made me feel completely virtuous for hitting two antique auctions this weekend. Did not manage to score an epergne ... but I will be able to properly gild the dinner table at my next dinner party!

  2. That is beautiful.

    BTW I don't see an "About" or Profile. Are you associated with a local tea room? Can you email me at I am writing an article for AOL about local Vegas bloggers.

    I also don't see a link where I can get to older posts.


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