Thursday, July 7, 2011

Victorian Epergne - Pronounced - E-purn.

English Cranberry Epergne, tri-fold trumpet form base. Ruffled crimped  with clear rigaree that circles the trumpets.

A rare find. A salesmen sample or child's toy Epergne

Stevens and Williams, Amberina Glass with stering base.

Early French Opaline glass with bronge and marble base. 

English Sterling

   The Webster Dictionary defines, Epergne as, A ornamental stand, usually made of glass or silver, holding, vase shaped dishes, trumpets or trays,used as  a decorative centerpiece for serving sweetmeats,fruit,cakes,candy or flowers.  This is a pretty clear picture of what an Epergne is. I often get asked in my shop and on house tours. "what's that thing." The easy answer is ," a flower vase." What ever the defination, whatever you call  them, they are very Victorian.
   While some English Silver Epergnes, date back as early as the late 1700's, for the most part, Epergnes became popular during the  Victorian Area,1800-1900. They seemed to be in there prime around the middle of the 1800's.The first examples were mostly silver. latter, glass bowls and trumpets were added to the silver ones. Soon, entire epergnes were being made of glass. They soon became a favorite decoration for the dining room table.

   The name, Epergne, is from France. A French word e'pargne- meaning,"saving." The idea being that dinner guest were saved the trouble of passing dishes. Although the word in French can also mean,"spare" , another way of saying, to save. The translation seems to have lost something. But, the name has stuck, and  it stands to this day.
    The original  Epergne, was used to hold any type of food or desert. Latter versions, were  more often than not, used as floral centerpieces.
   Many Companies  made Epergnes, both in Europe and America. Names like: Moser,  Mt. Washigton, Stourbridge ,Webb, Stevens and Williams and Fenton,(in modern times). Epergnes have long been collected by Antique lovers, decorators and Museums. All most all fine homes of the Victorian Period had an Epergne on the dining room table.Barbara Streisand was one Famous person, who was known to have collected  Epergnes, from the Art Nouveau period. She sold her collection at auction and collectors paid a high prices to have one that she had owned.
    The Epergne as a centerpiece , was and is, a wonderful invention. There is nothing easier in the world to arrange flowers in, than an Epergne. A small amount of flowers, makes a vast arrangement. Fruit, candy, holiday decorations and other objects ,can be used along with flowers. A lot of people say to me, what if you do not have an Epergne, or can not afford to buy one? I have came up with a  real easy solution for that. Use three stem glassed. I have done this, arranged them with flowers and pictured them in this blog.One can even go a step past that and set the 3 stem glasses in a flat dish and finish the entire Epergne look.
     I went out into the garden last night and picked a small hand full of garden flowers. I have a picture to show you how many. I did  all the arrangements in this Blog Post from that hand full of flowers. If flowers are not available, use greenery from the garden, I love Epergnes in the winter with pine, holly  or ivy. The main thing is, don't be afraid to use your Epergnes. They make beautiful, easy centerpieces.

A hand full of garden flowers in the kitchen ready to arrange in the Epergne

Finished arrangement.

The arrangement in place in the Ladies Parlor.

Epergne with out flowers.

Same Epergne with flowers. 

All three arrangements in a group.

    I hope you enjoy the Epergne  post. Please come by any time for a House tour. I will leave the lights on and if you call ahead, I will fill up a few Epergnes with garden flowers. And oh yes, Sissy Dog will meet you with a jump and a kiss.

Three stem glasses, placed close together, can create an Epergne like centerpiece.

The three stem glass  Epergne finished centerpiece


THIS IS FOR SALE! Beautiful pink and blue, Italian- Venitian,Hand Blown ,Overshot Glass ,Epergne. Perfect condition $400.00 plus free shipping.

Jeweled butter flies are $5.00 ea. I have 3

THIS EPERGNE IS FOR SALE! at my gift shop, Richard's Great Stuff. Email or call to reserve. 573 242 9688.