While contemplating the theme of our February Decorative Arts auction, ‘The Fine Art of Dining,’ I couldn’t help but recall Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet, if you please) and her legendary candlelight suppers. She was, as some might remember, the uncompromising lady of the house from the 1990s British sitcom ‘Keeping up Appearances’. Although somewhat dated, this program satirises so well Hyacinth Bucket’s fastidious obsession with the fine art of dining and the painfully hysterical efforts she took to impress her elitist acquaintances.
The fine art of dining refers to the overall dining experience as much as it does to the tableware genre and associated decor. As Hyacinth preaches from one episode to the next, providing one’s guests with a memorable dining experience is indeed an art form, and some fans of the program might even declare her their guru!
Personally, I am excited to see that dining trends have moved on from the era of Keeping up Appearances, and with its fastidiousness of tradition continuing to fade, creativity and vibrancy now abounds in the fine art of dining. Today, eclecticism rules supreme, mixing the old with the new, and juxtaposing traditional with modern is undoubtedly a major theme.
Whether preparing for an intimate dinner or a grand soirée, decorators are boldly engaging with the wealth of choice available at auction houses like Leonard Joel. Tablescapes of today may feature Georgian silver flatware with modern Italian glass stemware; a Spanish provincial banquet table may be set with blue and white transferware china and Louis XV fauteuils upholstered in contemporary fabric.
At Leonard Joel, we look forward to celebrating and presenting our own observations in this boundless world of tablescapes and dining room decor. Stay tuned for ‘The Fine Art of Dining’, 27 February 2019.
Decorative Arts Specialist