— Tulip Tureen

This tulip-form small tureen or covered dish must have appeared a wonderful bit of nature, as if fallen from a bouquet, on a dining table.

Porcelain started to take the place of sugar sculptures on the most elegant tables of Europe in the eighteenth century. It came at a time when nature was being observed in minute detail and porcelain was bringing color to table décor. Real flowers were not combined with food presentation but their porcelain proxies were often very naturalistic. Instead of giving off floral aromas, the floral table decorations that held food or sauce, such as this small tureen, gave off the aromas of the cuisine.


Dish and cover; Probably Volkstedt,
Principality of Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany, 1760-90
Painted and glazed hard-paste porcelain
Bequest of Erskine Hewitt


Via Cooper Hewitt

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