Knife rests are a wonderful practical invention whose sole purpose is to keep greasy and messy knife blades off your good tablecloth. You place one at each place setting with the knife blades resting on them. The French must be particularly fond of knife rests, because the storied Parisian silver house of Christofle has been supplying chic silver knife rests to hostesses for over a century. And Christofle was arguably at its best in the 1930s as Art Deco swept away the fussiness of the past and ushered in clean lines and a new modern sensibility.
Modern dining etiquette has changed a huge amount in recent years. Believe it or not, there was a time when dinner balanced on your lap in front of the TV was not considered dining! A few weeks back I was at a diner party and was thrilled to see the table set with rarified Art Deco Christofle silver knife rests! That gave me the idea for today’s post.
The vintage Christofle animal-form silver knife rests like those featured today are simply charming! Lustrous silver lions, hounds, cats and even birds are rendered as beautifully sleek Art Deco mascots. Sets of twelve generally provide two of each animal and I have found that there is a whole zoo of creatures that you can mix and match to create your own elegant table settings! Christofle still sells pairs of fox and hound, swan and peacock, and dog and cat silver knife rests to get you started.
In an effort to add some chic to my casual dining style, I had friends over for a Chinese meal this past weekend and I set the table using my own Christofle silver knife rests as chopstick rests. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. I don’t think there ever was a more elegant table setting for Mr. Chow’s Chinese cuisine!!!
Note: Christofle is synonymous with silver plate of the highest quality. I featured the Christofle Jardin d’Eden flatware pattern when it debuted in 2011.
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city