Collection

At Temple Newsam House

Silver chinoiserie epergne

Pitts, Thomas (fl. 1737-93), 1759, Silver chinoiserie epergne

The silver epergne (or table centrepiece) is in the chinoiserie style, one of the alternative forms of decoration which became immensely popular in the middle years of the 18th century.Artists, architects, designers and craftsmen were inspired by ideas of so-called 'Chinese' landscapes, buildings and decoration which they adapted freely for new and imaginative luxury goods. 

In this case the centrepiece is in the form of a Chinese pagoda or garden pavilion, complete with upturned eaves, hanging bells, pierced baskets and dishes. They would have contained fruits and delicacies for the dessert course at dinner and the table might have had additional ornaments such as porcelain figures and sugared scuptures. In the mid 20th century this example was owned by the legendary fashion writer and hostess the Hon Mrs Daisy Fellowes.