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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

246: Toddler with fruit in a mobile highchair

This curious figurine depicts a toddler in an elaborate wheeled chair – a combination of a baby-stroller and highchair – feeding herself some fruit. The early modern period saw the development of children’s furniture, like highchairs, which encouraged the child to sit up ‘politely’ whilst eating, and permitted participation at family meals. Children’s comportment at table was an indicator of education and refinement.

Was the figurine given as a present to a new mother? Or as an instructive toy to a child? Given how well- preserved this example is, it must have spent much of its life out of harm’s way. Probably Die Porceleyne Schotel Factory, Delft, Netherlands, c.1764 – 73

Tin-glazed earthenware Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest (C.2773-1928)

Toddler with fruit in a mobile highchair
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