Saturday, October 24, 2009

Epergne: An Exquisite Glass Centerpiece!

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!


  1. I love epergnes! My sister got one for her wedding that is to die for. I covet it - badly.

  2. Keep on dreaming! Who knows what Santa may bring. :)

  3. The word "Epergne" is fun to say!
    Those are so pretty too.

  4. They're beautiful. I have a friend who has a gorgeous one. Now I'm off to ask my son whose taking French how to pronounce it!

  5. My favorite is your favorite - the one from Horchow! I'd love to have that on my table. Dreamy!
    xo Isa

  6. Those are soo beautiful! I've never actually seen anything like that before, but they are great! Maybe someday Santa will bring one my way too hehe :0)

  7. I've never seen one of those before! So beautiful!

  8. Anonymous9:49 pm

    Oh, Monticello, how I love thee! Such an endless source of inspiration! I love the epergnes - I've never seen anything like it but love it!

  9. Very fancy! I'm afraid my laid back style of entertaining would not do any of these beauties justice, but if I were you, I'd save up for that second one from Horchow.

  10. Oh yes, they are very beautiful! I don't think I've ever seen one in person. It would definitely be a lovely tradition to enjoy every year - I love those kinds of traditions. ; ) Trina

  11. Anonymous4:04 pm

    Saw a magnificent one on my recent trip to the art gallery in Melbourne, Australia. It was stunning and my first introduction to the world of epergnes. Love the word too! Hoping to invest in one soon - how could I live without one? Thanks for the lovely images