Resting-in-Style - part V

Victorian English Silver-Plated Knife Rests with Dresser-Inspired "Ball & Rod" Design (LEO Design)

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions.

We end our parade of Victorian English knife rests right where we started—with a design in the manner of Dr. Christopher Dresser. Dresser was born in Glasgow Scotland (1834) to English parents. His boldly inventive—indeed revolutionary—designs are credited with influencing Modern style for decades after him. He combined his love of angular form, Japanese culture and botanical motifs to create a design portfolio that was years ahead of its time. He is credited with leading the "Anglo-Japanese" movement and was greeted warmly by the Japanese Emperor and government. His works fall under the umbrella of the Aesthetic Movement and his influence on the succeeding Arts & Crafts Movement is unquestioned. He wrote treatises on art and design and lectured widely, including in the United States. He worked in many mediums and embraced the new mass-production techniques which could bring good design to the masses. He worked in the fields of ceramics, lighting, metalwork, textiles, carpets, printed graphics (like wallpaper), ceramic dinnerware and other serviceware table items, like the knife rests shown above.

These "rod and ball" knife rests may or may not have been designed by Christopher Dresser himself. Nevertheless, they surely exhibit the influence of Dresser's aesthetic. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248