East Midlands Food

East Midlands Food

Dinner with a duke…

I visited the Harley Gallery near Workshop at the weekend to see the ‘Dinner with a Duke’ and ‘Life is Very Sweet’ exhibitions. ‘Dinner with a Duke’ – sub-titled ‘Decoding food & drink at Welbeck 1690 – 1910′ – explores 400 years of entertaining at Welbeck, country home of the Dukes of Portland, focusing on the production of food on the estate through the hothouses, poultry house, bakehouse, fruit and vegetable gardens and dairy, as well as the often lavish tableware used for dining. The display of the latter includes a rare silver wine fountain from Holland and Sevres porcelain ice cream pails and serving cups from the 18th century.

Images of other objects from the exhibition can be viewed online, where you can also access an original recipe for ‘Sauce for Salmon’, and an article by curator Phillipa Glanville in the NADFAS Review (‘Fine dining, p23-26). Go to www.harleygallery.co.uk/ and follow the ‘Dinner with a Duke’ link. Alongside other recipes and household accounts, the exhibition also features stories of household life from some of the estate servants. 

Harley Gallery, Welbeck

The exhibition will run until February 2012.  Alongside it, until March 2011, is ‘Life is Very Sweet’ is an installation by artist Jane Wildgoose of sugar flowers – used to ornament the dining table -along with examples of porcelain, portraits and garden sculpture from the Portland Collection. It explores ‘the complicated 18th century conventions for serving dessert’ including the ‘curious story of how how the discovery of the secret of porcelain manufacture in the West led to the replacement of the intricate sugarwork on the dessert table by fine chinaware’. A set of Chinese watercolours from the collection depicting porcelain production is also on display.

Jane Wildgoose’s commissions at the Harley Gallery are part of ‘museumaker’, a national project involving 16 museums across four regions including the East Midlands, with the aim of ‘unlocking the creative potential of collections through imaginative interchanges between the heritage and contemporary craft sectors’. See http://www.museumaker.com/ for more information. Her sugar flowers were produced in conjunction with the School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate, which offers opportunities to learn the arts of bread-making, cheese-making, brewing, charcuterie and preserving, and later this year is introducing a Degree in Artisan Food – food produced by non-industrial methods, with an awareness of the ‘different local conditions which have given rise to particular regional specialities’. See http://www.schoolofartisanfood.org/about-us/artisan-food for more information.

 
 

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About this Sponsor

A research project that looked at various aspects of food in the East Midlands, linking them with museum displays and objects in the region, and making the results available to as many people as possible in different formats.

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