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Object ID # 1957.027.001ab
Object Name Epergne
Title Ceramic Epergne
Lexicon category 4: T&E For Materials
Date Late 19th-century?
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Unknown
Description Peach-pink & white glazed ceramic epergne (a decorative holder for cut flowers). No maker's identification is present. The epergne is pink-coloured, with applied moulded white-coloured flowers and gold-coloured trim. There is a roughly circular bowl area, with three supports to it. An arching triple-armed holder is present for holding the removable water cone. The removable ceramic cone has moulded vertical lines. It rests in a petal-shaped holder in the bowl. The underside of the epergne has a trefoil (three-lobed) shape to its base.
Function: Victorian epergnes sometimes held cut flowers to help decorate a table surface. They were typically a centrepiece item on the dining table. Some had a vase component, some were tiered, while some had dishes or candle holders.
Makers mark None
Provenance The pottery of origin is not yet known. At some point it became the property of Mrs. Martha J. Urquhart (nee Paterson), of Owen Sound, Ontario (and was in her Estate in 1939). Mrs. Urquhart's husband, Donald P. Urquhart, was an Owen Sound grocer. Perhaps it had belonged to the Hugh Urquhart family at Owen Sound before Donald & Martha owned it? It was last owned by Margaret Carrie (nee Kilbourn) of Owen Sound.
Collection Household Equipment, 19th-c Collection
Material Ceramic/Glaze/Paint
Dimensions H-17 Dia-22 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Urquhart, Martha J.
Urquhart, Donald P.
Carrie, Margaret
Subjects Vases
Search Terms Victorian
Function An epergne generally has a large central "bowl" or basket sitting on three to five feet. From this center "bowl" radiate branches supporting small baskets, dishes, or candleholders. There may be between two and seven branches. Epergnes were traditionally made from silver, however from around the start of the 20th century glass was also employed.
An epergne may be used to hold any type of food or dessert. It may also be used as a designer object to hold candles, flowers or ornaments for a holiday etc. In traditional use, an epergne is a fancy way to display side dishes, fruit, or sweetmeats, or can be used for chips, dips, or other finger foods etc.
Probably from the French "├ępargne" meaning "saving", the idea being that dinner guests were saved the trouble of passing dishes (although an epergne in French is called a surtout). In addition the word epergne in French can also mean "spare", another way of saying "to save", or a spare meaning "reserve or extra".