A Fine George II Rococo Epergne

John Cann
19.5" wide (49cm) 14" high (35.5cm)
150 oz

Raised on 4 cast scroll legs with finely chased scalloped feet, rising to support 4 detachable branches of foliate "s" scroll form terminating in four circular screw-on dishes, each with a fine cast border of shells, flowers, leaves and scrolls above 10 moulded serpentine flutes and all surrounding an engraved coat of arms. The 4 legs all applied to a circular hoop beneath the main body. The latter of oval shape with cast openwork aprons of flowers and leaves below a chased band of similar ornament on a matted and scaled ground. The waisted central section plain and pierced with scrolls and crosses and the detachable basket with similar pierced work bordered by further cast foliage and shells, each end with rolled over scrolls and applied with a cast female head. The centre engraved with armorials.

Price on Application (Reserved)

The Arms are those of Wade impaling another

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The epergne has traditionally held an elevated status not only amongst its original 18th clientele but also with modern day collectors. The reasons are easily understandable. Their size alone ranks them as one of the largest items of table silver ever made and when filled with fruit, nuts and sweetmeats the effect can be stunning. The word "epergne" is derived from the French "Epargner" meaning to save, in other words to save space and the bother of having to pass things along the table. It is not surprising, therefore, that such pieces originated in France in the early 18th century reaching England by the early 1720's. They remained popular throughout the 18th century and into the 19th century when a more general form of centrepiece became the fashion. The best examples, however, were executed in the rococo style particularly from the workshops of Paul de Lamerie and Paul Crespin, the Newdigate and Dysart epergnes being superbly balanced and finished.

The Cann epergne is very much in the style of those made by Thomas Pitts, the most prolific maker of such pieces between the 1740's and 60's. At 150 oz it seems that no expense was spared especially when fashioned in the high rococo style using cast silver wherever possible. The quality and condition of the chasing is superb. Frustratingly we have not been able to trace which member of the Wade family commissioned this piece as there are a number of possibilities. Its other great feature is that it is not too tall which can sometimes obscure a guest sitting opposite.