Skip to main content

Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

Deceptive tableware

By the 1750s, trompe l’oeil (‘trick the eye’) tableware had become the height of fashion on elegant tables across Europe. Sometimes, the ceramic form identified the food within, so the dish with heaped crayfish cover (261) was probably for crayfish paté or potted crayfish. However, the Chelsea porcelain manufactory’s catalogues indicate that some of its smaller containers formed as vegetables, rabbits, and partridges were made for the dessert course. Knowing that the form of a tureen did not necessarily indicate its contents must have created suspense, followed by amusement when the cover was removed and unexpected contents revealed.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn RSS feed for events RSS feed for stories
University of Cambridge Museums logo Designation scheme Logo Accredited Museum status logo Cambridge City Council Logo Arts Council England Logo Research England logo