Known as a ‘surtout de table’, this item is designed to serve as a centrepiece which runs along the centre of a formal dining table. They are often topped by candelabra, vases, or serving dishes. These items were in vogue in Europe in the late 18th and 19th Century, and today they can be viewed in major country house displays, such as at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England.
The surtout de table is composed of five sections, any one of which can be removed to adjust the length of the item. Its top is mirrored to provide a reflective surface which will catch the light produced by candle-holders placed on top of it or chandeliers suspended above. The top of the surtout de table is edged with an elaborate pierced gilt bronze (ormolu) gallery. This takes the form of a rinceau band which is decorated with models of fruit platters and putti eating grapes accompanied by goats. There is a Bacchanalian theme to the decoration, which complements the item’s intended position on a table used for consuming fine wine and food. The surtout de table is set on ten scrolled leaf feet.