On a recent trip to Virginia, we visited Thomas Jefferson's famous home, Monticello, in Charlottesville.
I was positively smitten with Monticello and its beautiful grounds (they also have a fab gift shop). But one of my favorite discoveries was in the Tea Room, where I spied a beautiful glass centerpiece. This marvellous little serving tree is called an epergne:
I wasn't able to take a photo (I aspired to, but the tour guides were eagle-eyed). I was delighted to find this photo of the Tea Room on the Monticello website.
The epergne sat in the center of the table, its little glass baskets overflowing with candied fruit, nuts, and various sweets. I found it very festive and I immediately thought of Christmas, and how pretty it would be on a dining room table for the holidays!
Below is a close-up of the Monticello eperge, which dates to the 1750-80's. History states that according to family tradition, Jefferson gave this epergne to Martha Burke Jones, second wife of his son-in-law, John Wayles Eppes, on the occasion of their marriage:
Naturally, I coveted it and assumed that only antique versions would be available. So I was surprised to find that a few are available for purchase. I found the following two lovely epergnes at Horchow. The top one is lead crystal and retails for $160. It has only one tier:
And this beauty, made of wrought iron and recycled glass, is also available at Horchow for $375. This is my favorite but breaks the budget:
I do think an epergne would be a dream purchase for the holidays! A beautiful piece like this would last a lifetime and start a lovely holiday tradition.
If those prices don't make you blush, check out this beauty from Reed & Barton, which retails for $1000. Now that's an heirloom!
Ahhh...a girl can dream!