Rebecca Emes & Edward Barnard, Exceptional English Antique Sterling Silver Epergne, London - 1819/20
This is an incredible centerpiece in a very rare design. The details and quality are remarkable. Made from multiple parts and assembled together, this work of art incorporates bold classical elements.
The top section has four, curved branches emanating from the top of the central stem topped with an artichoke. These flowing foliate arms support a ring of laurel leaves which hold the large glass bowl. The midsection of the stem is sectioned by a ring of circular overflowing leaves below where the removable branches are inserted.
The arms are stunning with their Adamesque design, superb casting and attention to details.
Another rare and amazing feature is that the branches are convertible from candle holders to holders for glass bowls. The socles unscrew and the bowl holders take their place if one wishes. The tough decision is which version is preferred as they are both unique and amazing.
A shaped, square plinth base is elevated with spreading feet decorated with shells and foliage. Four rams heads, symbols of authority and leadership, add to the dramatic look and boldness of the design. A stunning armorial is engraved on one of the panels.
The coat of arms is for Sir Andrew Leith - Hay, KH FRSE FRS (1785-1862) of Leith Hall.
Sir Andrew retired from the army as a captain in 1819 after serving as a spy for the Duke of Wellington during the Napoleonic wars and being wounded during the Peninsular Campaign. He served as a Member of Parliament for Elgin 1832-38 and 1841-47, Clerk of the Ordinance 1834-38 and Governor of Bermuda 1838-42.
The Leith family is an ancient Scottish clan. The family seat, Leith Hall (now a Scottish National Trust property) was originally built in 1650 with additions in the 18th and 19th centuries
This magnificent epergne is fully hallmarked and the arms are numbered to coincide with where they are inserted into the column. It measures 19 inches high by 21 inches across the arms, weighs an impressive 231.10 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition with one glass bowl being a Waterford replacement.
Later note: This was featured in House of Barnard by John P. Fallon (Gamlingay: Authors Online Ltd, 2012)
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