The Victorian dinner table was a very considered event. With dining normally lasting over an hour, decorum required the right tools for the job. From the correct knife to seating arrangements, there were an awful lot to consider. In order to accommodate larger groups of people and the amount of food required, appropriate tableware would be commissioned. Our forthcoming auction includes several wonderful examples for this purpose. Lots 443, 547 and 548 bear similar resemblances and are desgined for different purposes, however their overarching purpose and design is that they are space saving.
The word epergne, derived from the French to save space, enables wonderful displays of food, floral displays and candles to be arranged on the table for guests to marvel at. The various branches allowed guests to not have to reach over or appear strained reaching. Lot 443 has four branches and one larger stem, each with dishes to temptingly display the food on offer. Dated 1910, this epergne falls in to the Edwardian period, but takes inspiration from the Victorian. These attributes may make this piece far rarer as, by this time, glass makers had found more economical ways to create such displays than in silver.
In our upcoming sale this December, we also have on offer a pair of tazza. Tazza, derived from the Italian meaning cup, is often used for more decorative purposes, not normally used for large food displays, but could often be used to display smaller items of food, such as hors d’oerves. However, as with our epergne, tazza can be used to relieve space in different ways for the host. Lot 547 by Charles Thomas Fox & George Fox in our upcoming sale display grandiose decoration and continental inspiration.
Very similar to tazzas, comports have more of a saucer dish to them with a similar stem. Again used to display smaller items, their function would be lift items high off the table to offer room. Both 547 and 548 are dated from the 1860s and fuel the imagination for what the grand display of the Victorian dinner table would have been.
Viewing by appt from 28 Nov to 07 Dec (closed 04-06 Dec)