This fine set of twelve knife rests were crafted in France in the 19th Century, when fine dining was an important part of high society. The knife rest, or ‘porte-couteaux’, as they were called in France, was designed to hold the knife end off the table between courses. This ensured that the knife, which was stained with food, would not touch the clean tablecloth. While they were chiefly functional pieces of design, knife rests were crafted in the 19th Century in a variety of interesting forms in a range of precious materials. Some took animal or human forms, others featured initials, floral motifs, and scrolling patterns, variously crafted in gold, silver, ivory and mother of pearl.
These knife rests feature crystal glass twisting stems, which are mounted on either end with silver triangular-shaped motifs. The silver end design consists of central oval shape, which is bracketed with scrolls and set within a fan of leaves. Below, two arms, which take the form of unfurling leaves, extend outwards to meet the ground. These are decorated with small flowers.
These now highly-collectable items will make the perfect addition to an antique dinner service set. Alternatively, owing to their refined design and materials, these knife rests will also suit a contemporary dining room setting.