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Antique Silverplate County Hotel Centerpiece Epergne

Antique Silverplate County Hotel Centerpiece Epergne

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The first known example of epergnes dates back to the mid-1700s, but it was the opulent, lush aesthetic of the Victorian era that made these lovely centerpieces an essential item for the aspiring middle and upper classes. The word epergne actually comes from the French word "épargner" - which means to save. An epergne allowed one to adorn the table or sideboard with flowers, fruits, nuts and sweets, in a beautiful, yet space-efficient way.

The size and shape of epergnes varied greatly - from smaller examples which were designed only for displaying flowers, to much larger, more ornate pieces with bowls in either crystal or silver and suspended baskets. Epergnes reflected the era in which they were produced, with those from the Victorian era being the most elaborate. 

From the historic County Hotel in Canterbury, England, we are thrilled to present this magnificent antique silverplate centerpiece epergne. Lovingly restored and resilvered in Sheffield, England, this piece is truly a centerpiece like none other. The central arm is an elegant trumpet vase. Sitting atop the vase is a removable bowl with delicate pierced detailing around its rim. Suspended from the central vase are three pierced baskets with swing handles. The central bowl is intended for fruit, but if it is not needed, it can be removed and the vase can be used for floral arrangements. The small side baskets are intended for nuts and sweets. 

This gorgeous epergne will be a stunning addition to your dining table, buffet or sideboard. It will, as its name implies, save space while being a breath-taking centerpiece that sets the stage for a memorable event. 


Strictly limited quantities (2 are available) and subject to prior sale. Overall Height is 11 3/4"; Height without removable bowl is 10"; Bowl diameter is 9 3/8"; Suspended Baskets have 5 1/8" diameters and are 5" tall including their swing handle. In excellent restored antique condition. Circa 1910. 

 

Learn More about the County Hotel in Canterbury

The County Hotel in the medieval town of Canterbury, England has a very long and storied history. The ancient site of the hotel is significant as it was where "Jacob the Jew of Canterbury" lived and where the medieval Jewish synagogue in Canterbury was once located .  Jacob was the leading Jewish financier of medieval Canterbury and in 1190 he built himself "a great stone house" in the center of town.  Since Jacob was a financier, his home was not only his residence, but was in effect like a county bank. Directly behind Jacob's home was the synagogue.

Over the centuries, what was Jacob's great stone house as well as the medieval synagogue eventually became a hotel.  In 1640, the Sarcens Head Inn was located on that site. Later the name was changed to Kings Head and by 1892, the building was registered as the County Hotel. Parts of Jacob's original stone house survived into modern times.  Until 1927, the western wall of the hotel was a surviving wall of Jacob's house.  It was built of stone and rubble and was a massive 5 feet thick.  Due to its decay over the centuries, it was ultimately replaced with a new brick wall in the late 1920s.

In 1901, the County Hotel was advertised as being patronized by "His Excellency, the American Ambassador". Indeed the hotel's lovely, ancient Tudor construction and its perfect location near the cathedral in the center of historic Canterbury, made it a favorite hotel for many travelers.  Today the original buildings are still standing proud and the hotel has been completely modernized and operates as the ABode Hotel Canterbury.

 

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