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The history of serving the festive table

The history of serving the festive table fromAntiquity to our days begins about 2000 years ago. It was at the dawn of modern times that the Chinese invented porcelain. They really enjoyed eating culinary delights, served on translucent white dishes, decorated with mythological or everyday scenes. And while sipping tea from elegant fragile cups. For a long time they carefully kept from the neighbors the magic secret of porcelain dishes. In ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia also came up with the idea of ​​making ceramic products covered with glaze. But they, rather, resembled modern faience. To produce it, the same materials were used as for the production of porcelain, and a similar technology. The difference was only in the ratio of components.

In Europe, the Eastern secret for a long time no oneEspecially did not interest. The dishes were made of clay, wood, metal. In the Middle Ages, the common people shared common bowls, from which the whole family ate. Sometimes the replacement of plates - even the rich - served large slices of bread. They usually put thick food and pieces of meat. But in the Renaissance in solid houses, it was increasingly possible to see individual plates on the tables. Intensively developed and the production of highly artistic ceramics. Especially tried the Italians, inspired by the works of Moorish masters, who covered ceramic products with tin glaze.

And in the XVII and XVIII centuries, thanks to the discoveryNew sea routes, in Europe there were exotic drinks: tea, coffee, cocoa. They needed special utensils: elegant cups, saucers and teapots. Merchants readily took precious porcelain from the eastern countries and sold it for money in Europe. Connoisseurs of beauty quickly realized how great it was to admire dinner for highly artistic items from this material. And, in the end, they wanted to do it on their own.

Once Elector of Saxony August StrongInvited to his service the chemist Johann Betger. This chemist promised to open a way of making gold. The mountain-alchemist has not learned to extract this metal. But, following the example of the Chinese, he came up with a recipe for making porcelain from kaolin. Kaolin is a plastic white clay, to which was added feldspar with white mica, as well as quartz or sand.

I must say that the eastern porcelain was not less thanValuable than gold. August Strong quickly realized what profits this invention promises. And in 1710 ordered to build under Dresden Meissen porcelain manufactory, which soon became famous. At first, Saxon artists painted products in the oriental style. But gradually they began to decorate with more diverse ornaments and pictures - landscapes, hunting scenes and other beauties. Worth these masterpieces very expensive! But the demand for them was enormous. Rich clients, including monarchs from all over Europe, ordered not individual items, but whole sets for a lot of people. Various dining rooms, tea, coffee sets. So there was a tradition to serve tables in the same style. By the way, in Russia the largest collection of Meissen porcelain was collected by Count Sheremetev. It can now be seen in the Museum of Ceramics in the Kuskovo Estate.

In France, meanwhile,Experiments. Even in the 16th century, Saint-Porscher figured out how to make faience, imitating Italian ceramics. Actually, a little faience of the French to him and appropriated by the name of the city of Faenza in Italy. But on these achievements local craftsmen did not stop. And as a result of ingenious manipulations with sand, saltpetre, soda and gypsum in 1738, the so-called soft porcelain was obtained. Clay in it almost was not contained, therefore it has appeared even more "transparent", than firm, and not pure white, and cream. Products Sevres manufactory (respectively, in the city of Sevres) successfully competed with both Chinese and Saxon. And not only because of its quality, but also due to its unusual design. French masters produced sets of the most diverse forms and colors. For example, a dish could resemble a grape leaf. Saucema - melon. Sugar bowl - cauliflower. A teapot is a pineapple!

In the XVI-XVII centuries. Successes in the manufacture of faience were achieved by the Dutch. The manufactories in Delft produced large quantities of cheap dishes. And gradually this ceramics began to be popular with people with an average income. However, no matter how expensive the porcelain sets were compared to them, the demand for them still did not decrease. After all, they demonstrated the well-being and high position of the owners. Porcelain manufactories appeared in Europe one after another. Russia did not lag behind Western colleagues. Back in 1746, a chemist scientist Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov discovered the cherished technology. Lomonosov Porcelain Factory, established by the order of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, has become a worthy competitor of European enterprises. Before the revolution, he was in royal ownership and especially flourished under Catherine the Great. She generously ordered ceremonial sets, and some of them counted up to a thousand items! And in the XIX century there were many small plants - especially in the Gzhel region.

By the middle of the XIX century, a set of dishes on the tablesThe rich houses of Europe are growing to the limit. Before each guest on the tablecloth, there are, as in the parade, numerous plates for snacks, first, second, salad, dessert, fruit. This is not counting all sorts of salt-oil cans, jam jars, sugar cans, milk jugs, cups, fruit bowls, candy baskets.

It would seem that there is nothing more to invent _ everything has already been invented! But even in our times, the services continue to improve. Basically, thanks to the restaurateurs, who want to profitably present the dishes of their chefs. They introduced the so-called assiette de presentation - a large plate "for serving", with a beautiful painted edge, on which plates with first and second dishes are placed. Restaurateurs also expressed the idea that all items should be "docked", easily stored. If they are densely inserted into each other, then there is less chance of breaking them when you carry a mountain of dishes in your hands. And, in addition, very prominent designers often work on the appearance of modern services. After all, even the most familiar dishes can be not only a container for food and drinks, but also an art object! This story with the table service was like to remind that even the most delicious dish becomes even more delicious if the table is decorated with luxurious dishes.

Since that time, we have reached the set of services that have become legends:

- "Service with a green frog", designed for 50Persons and consisting of 994 items. It was created by the English factory Wedgwood for Catherine the Great and is now kept in the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg. All products are decorated with various landscapes, so that the queen and her entourage admire the forests, fields and country palaces of England. By the way, all this beauty has safely survived two evacuations: in 1917 and 1945.

- Kendler's "Swan service" wasIt was made in the 18th century at the Meissen Manufactory and consisted of 2200 porcelain items. They are decorated with relief images of all kinds of creatures that live in the water element.

- "The service of Queen Victoria", createdManufactory Herend, received the name of the British Queen. Since during the World Exhibition in 1851 she was fascinated by his simple drawing with fluttering butterflies.

- The most famous of Russian porcelainservice - "Guryevsky" ("Russian") - was made in the beginning of the XIX century. Now most of it is stored in Peterhof. It is named after the count DA. Guryeva, under whose leadership work was under way. The service is decorated with miniatures made according to engravings and lithographs depicting the appearance and customs of the peoples of Russia. And also captured the views of different cities and all sorts of genre scenes.

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