Little Table, cover thyself!
June 19, 2022 – December 31, 2025
The seven original tables date from the period 1500–2013 and all come from Europe. They represent the period styles of Renaissance, baroque, rococo, neoclassicism, art nouveau, and early modernism until the present. Each table is laid with objects used during a meal at that particular time – including decorative objects. All the objects derive from the museum collections.
The table arrangement does not reflect the kind of service commonly owned by everyone during the given period. Over time, the museum has collected many rare and valuable artefacts, quite a few of which are one-off pieces. Porcelain was not manufactured in Europe until the 1700s and then primarily for the well-to-do.
Flatware was often manufactured in silver or gold, and not until the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s did this become an everyday commodity. Drinking glasses were also costly to manufacture and they were often of a very elaborate design. For many centuries, people drank mainly from lidded goblets made of silver or gold for the rich and of wood or pewter for the less well-off.