Sold in pairs, knife rests serve the essential purpose of providing an elevated resting spot for a carving set, preventing grease and other mess from coming into contact with the immaculate surface of an 18th century dining table.
Knife rests are difficult for modern collectors to find, largely due to their size and relative fragility. Before the 1780s, knife rests were crafted from porcelain, and as such not many examples of these can be found today.
Their design saw a change at the turn of the 19th century, going from triangular sections brought together by drawn wire, to single bars of silver closed off at the ends by ‘x’ shapes, providing an ideal place for knives to be positioned to avoid accidents. This basic design continues to be the standard today, with some – more adventurous novelty examples – being more dramatic.
American examples especially are more flamboyant, often featuring animals like bears and pugs. These examples are rare to come by and are highly valuable collectables. Some British examples match up to their American counterparts when it comes to novelty, though these are also difficult to find.