Most unusual pair of antique silver menu holder vases with engine-turned engraved bodies overlaid with white vitreous enamel and delicately hand painted images of baskets of blue flowers surmounted with blue ribbons.
Vitreous enamel is a decorative, glass-like coating fused on to a metallic base, historically applied on gold, silver and copper. The earliest known enamelled objects were made in 13th century BC during the Mycenæan period.
As a fine and traditional addition to fine dining, it was the Victorians who first introduced menu holders to our dining tables. Silver menu holders and place card holders were first created to hold a card displaying the menu and, rather than putting a place card holder and name in front of each diner as we often do today, silver menu holders were spread and passed around the dining table. For that reason, we most frequently find sets of four silver menu holders, or pairs. Larger sets of six and eight can be found, while ten or a dozen silver menu or place card holders are fairly rare.