THE ART OF DINING FASHIONABLY WITH SILVERPLATE ACCENTS

By: John Hogan

The art of fine dining with silver and silverplate accents is centuries old. Old American, Canadian and European tradition still prevails in our modern world of throw-away and disposable society.

Derby Silver Plate Convertible Candelabra, C. 1890-1900

Derby Silver Plate Convertible Candelabra

Birks Regency Plate Silver Plate Round Tray, C. 1900-20

Birks Regency Plate Silver Plate Tray

ENGLISH TRIPLE DEPOSIT ANTIQUE SILVERPLATE OVAL TRAY, C. 1900

English Triple Deposit Silverplate Oval Tray

The combination of fine silver, cut crystal and bone china certainly sets the drama for a dining room table as the welcomed guests arrive to engage in conversation and feast in delight.

Whether the manufacturer be American, English or Canadian, many forms of silver plate take their history and place in the art of fine dining throughout households of the nation. We are proud of our silversmiths of the past. The magnificent artistry of their work has been and always will be respected for centuries to come. From Pre- Georgian styles to the stellar works of Christopher Dresser, we still seek uniqueness when we set our dining room tables so that the dining experience can be both charming and memorable for our guests.

Many great manufacturers adorn these art forms. In Canada, it is not uncommon to see the ornate cartouche or backstamp of William Henry Rogers of Hamilton, Ontario on many pieces. On the other hand, Henry Birks of Montreal, Quebec or Roden Brothers of Ontario. As more contemporary silver, these are names one often finds. As for Peterson of Montreal, this is truly a treasure should one find a piece of his sterling silver.

Regardless of Nationality, many of these silverware forms were executed or crafted with love to hopefully please the varying tastes of the time and for future generations. It was not uncommon to find a couple gracious candelabras and a center candelabrum adorning the long rosewood dining table with other accompanying accents such as water jugs, butter dishes, relish dishes, entree dishes, platters, salt and peppers finally topped off with an elegant tea service to the side on a tea wagon. Ah the opulence of fine dining most certainly was topped off by a nice canteen of cutlery to be added as a final touch as each place setting took on its notary position at the dining table.

From the very baroque to the very streamlined modernist lines of Art Deco, silverware will never go out of vogue amongst the more affluent of our generation. Once I have finished a nice meal and great conversation at such a table, I walk away feeling like royalty.

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