Educational Articles

 

Epergnes - by Carl Chapman 

  Being fairly new to serious carnival glass collecting, I’ve been told that epergnes are relatively hard items to collect. The more common ones are available, but you still don’t see them that often, and most are rarely found at sales and auctions. I currently have 25 carnival epergnes, and 3 non-carnival ones. I consider them all beautiful, scarce, and delicate because of the way you need to handle them.
  The American companies that made carnival epergnes were Fenton, Dugan, and Northwood.
  Fenton made the Vintage epergnes in two sizes, with the smaller of the two having four clusters of grapes, and the larger having five clusters of grapes. I have found the lilies are inter-changeable between the two bowls because the lily hole in both bowls sizes are the same size. I’ve never seen a small size lily and base more than 4 ¾” tall. These small Vintage epergnes come in amethyst, blue, marigold, and green, which I find to be the scarcest. The larger epergnes come in amethyst, green, and marigold. I’ve never seen a large blue epergne, although they probably exist.
  Dugan made two epergnes, and the most prized is the stately Strawberry epergne, which is only known in amethyst. At 10” in height, and 9” across the bowl, this is truly a beauty. On all I’ve seen, the lily has a piecrust edge, with the bowl being ruffled. An outstanding example can bring $1,500.00 or more in today’s market. Dugan’s other epergne is Fishnet, and it comes in amethyst and peach-opalescent. These will be found with either a 3 in 1 or ruffled edge. Depending on the iridescence and color, these bring $250 to $500 at auction. While Fishnet is pretty, in my opinion, it is not nearly as stately as Strawberry.
  Northwood was the king of epergnes in America, making both Wishbone and Wide Panel. Wishbone, as with the previous mentioned epergnes, are a two piece (bowl and lily) arrangement. Wishbone comes in amethyst/purple, ice blue, ice green, marigold, white, and the most often found color, green. There has been a lime green reported. Ice blue and ice green epergnes can bring upwards of $9,000, with white bringing about $1,800, when you can find one. Northwood’s Wide Panel is the last and most majestic of the American epergnes. These beauties are a bowl and four lilies (three side lilies & one center lily). These come in amethyst, blue, green, ice blue, ice green, marigold, and white. Ice blue, ice green, and blue are the hardest to find. An ice blue example sold for $13,500 at the ACGA auction in 2007.
  Perfect examples are getting harder to find, as handling by inserting and removing the lilies, even very carefully, can result in chips or flea bites on the lily or bowl. I am at the point where I ignore minor damage of this type because most examples will have a problem.
  There are a couple of European companies, Brockwitz and Sowerby, which are the only ones I know of to have made all glass epergnes. Brockwitz made the Curved Star epergne, which is 19” tall, and has a threaded nut on the bottom that attaches to the base. Tartan is another Brockwitz epergne, which also attaches to the base with threads, but it is the glass that is threaded. These are known only in marigold. Sowerby’s only entry is English Hob and Button, or ”Chunky.” This is a series of two bowls, one over the other, and is also known in marigold only.
  There are a couple other metal based epergnes with iridized glass bowls that come to mind; one being a Beaded Peacock Tail bowl with a Dolphin base, and one called Desert Goddess. I know very little about them, and cannot offer any insight on them.   I really enjoy collecting epergnes, and I hope that by sharing my interest in them, gives you some insight into how beautiful and scarce they are. Carnival epergne knowledge is continually evolving, and any additions, including contradictions, will be most appreciated.