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Table services and ornamentlocked

  • Bruce Tattersall

Extract

The Ceramics, Cutlery and Glass on a dining-table, sometimes supplemented by decorative materials, including ornamental foodstuffs. The Western world’s earliest pictorial evidence of table settings is from the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, in which food and its implements were among the goods deposited for use by the deceased in the afterlife (see Egypt, ancient, §XII, 3). Tableware made of pottery, and some silver, has survived from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and descriptive accounts of table settings, especially those for banquets, can be found in Roman literature, notably the Satyricon of Petronius (fl 1st century ad). The Roman and Byzantine practice of creating decorative effects by ornamentation of the food itself was revived in the Middle Ages, mainly in the work of confectioners and in the presentation of meat and fowl restored to a lifelike appearance after cooking. From the later Middle Ages, as banquets became a means of displaying wealth and status, the aristocracy feasted at tables elaborately decorated, as is shown in the ...

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