This elaborate epergne, or centerpiece, was made in England out of earthenware between 1780 and 1800. During the 18th century such an item would have been called a grand plat ménage, meaning a pile of plates. In the wealthy household of the period, dessert was often a grand affair, with an object like this one placed in the center of the table. The classical figure of Plenty at the top alluded to the variety of sweetmeats, fruits and nuts that would have been placed in each of the scallop-shell baskets.
Volume 144, Number 4, July/August 2010, Page 6
Photography by Mark Gulezian/Quicksilver