S183: Epergne or centrepiece
View larger photo
© The Holburne Museum of Art, Bath
|Title||Epergne or centrepiece|
|Object type||In category: Metalwork » Dish|
|Date||Between 1791 and 1792|
Robertson, William (known) - Gold/silversmith(s)
Fox Charles Thomas & George Fox. (known) - Gold/silversmith(s)
|Place of origin||Europe » Northern Europe » British Isles » Great Britain » England » London|
70.0 cm height whole
40.0 cm width whole
40.0 cm depth whole
184.0 ounces whole
|Materials & techniques||
Silver epergne or centrepiece composed of an openwork frame of scrolls decorated with rocaille work, festoons of foliage and fruit and two armorial cartouches. Supported on four pierced rocaille work feet. An ostrich supported on further scrolls stands in the centre and four pineapples surmount the corners. Four candle branches spring from the upper scrolls. The stand supports an oval pierced basket with voluted ends and applied acanthus leaves.
|Marks and inscriptions||
This magnificent epergne or centrepiece is hallmarked for Edinburgh, 1791-2 and bears the sponsor’s mark of William Robertson. Epergnes were used to display fruit and sweetmeats in the centre of the dining table.
William Robertson was admitted to the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of Edinburgh in 1789, and flourished until the early years of the nineteenth century. He came from a talented Edinburgh family: his father Patrick was a skilled goldsmith, while his uncle, also William, was Principal of Edinburgh University and a renowned Enlightenment historian.Robertson probably bought this epergne from a specialist London epergne maker for retail. Stylistically, is extremely old fashioned for that period and it has been suggested that Robertson adapted an earlier centrepiece of c.1760.
In 1843-4 the candle drip-pans and the ostrich and its supporting scrolls were added by London goldsmiths Charles Thomas Fox and George Fox. The firm was regularly patronised by Sir William Holburne. They also added the clusters of grapes that slot into four sockets around the lower half of the stand. These probably replaced candle branches or sweetmeat baskets.
A. Butcher and E. J. C. Smith, A Catalogue of Silver at the Holburne Museum, Bath, 1996, p.15, no.117
|Muse theme||The Art of Collecting
The History of the Holburne Collection » Sir William Holburne and his Collection » Arranging the Collection: Sir William at Home
The History of the Holburne Collection » The Collection » Silver
|Method of acquisition||Bequest|
|Provenance||Sir T. W. Holburne (1793-1874); by whom bequeathed to Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882); by whom bequeathed to the Museum|
Title of exhibition: Centenary Exhibition of Silver in the Holburne Collection
Title of exhibition: The Beauties of Bath: the Holburne Museum Revealed