Hall of Standing and Family Dinner
There was a time when porcelain was collected with a compulsion akin to how some of our contemporaries now check their email. Like the bling on your finger, the rims on your car and the shoes on your feet, the amount of ceramics amassed was a Baroque opportunity to show your wealth. European aficionados would display their collections; overflowing cupboards and cabinets, with iconic porcelains from China and Japan.
The use of earthenware, veiled in white slip, is also linked to porcelain mania – but as it occurred in the Near East. Camouflaging their ruddy earth with an opaque coating – whether with slip or glaze, they strove to imitate the fine porcelain that made its way west along the Silk Road. Inspired by this history both "Family Dinner" and "Hall of Standing" echo the forms and traditions of ornament central to this phenomenon.
Gastronomic choices were also subtle cues to your guests. Salt, like porcelain, was a rare commodity. This encouraged the creation of elaborate devices for the display of this lavish condiment. In the "Hall of Standing" the Salt Cellar is flanked by a pair of Tulipieres reflecting the Dutch mania for the tulip bulb that went hand in hand with the European thirst for porcelain. Two voluptuous Butter Dishes round out this decadent array. Juxtaposed with the formal garniture arrangement on the mantelpiece, the ornate wallpaper supports lustered platters anticipating their opportunity to be put to service.