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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

42: Tiles depicting buckwheat milling

Buckwheat was the cereal of the poor, and accounted for a fifth of all grain consumed in Holland by the end of the eighteenth century. This tile picture shows the typical interior of a rosmolen (horse-powered rotary mill) and the various stages in buckwheat milling. The pride in mechanisation, efficiency, and the resulting contribution to the Dutch economy is evident in the lengthy inscription: ‘The groat trade is shown here: the buckwheat is first brought in, dried and crushed. It is then sifted, weighed, ground, and sorted in the bolter. Finally, it is packed in sacks which are taken to the market and traded for silver. This is how goods and industry are paid for’.

Netherlands, 1780

Tin-glazed earthenware

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest (C.2847-1928)

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