Known in France as a surtout de table, this mirrored centerpiece is from circa 1900. The 13 ¾ inch diameter mirror is surrounded by a tripartite bronze base, which has been gilded using an ormolu technique, which is a coating of finely ground gold. Notice the bright color of the ormolu, indicating that a high-karat gold was used (total diameter is 17 1/2 inches). The edge of the mirrored section is surrounded by a thin ring of highly detailed grapevines. At the bottom edge of the base is another cluster of grapes, with much larger leaves. The second ring is interrupted on three occasions by a lobed leaf, each terminating in a thick, volute foot.
Surtout de tables were often gilded or silvered or surrounded by exotic metals, making them highly sought-after furnishings. Typically, they were used as ornamental centerpieces on formal dining tables, allowing candlesticks and serving pieces to be displayed, although our mirrored ormolu surtout de table can also be placed on a sofa or center table as a decorative accessory or as a support for a vase with fresh flowers.
CONDITION: Good antique condition, with light loss of silvering to the mirror and some surface scratches. Fleabites to the bronze with minor buildup.