Prestigious Dining

Ornate silver soup tureen embellished with petal shapes, scrolls, and floral fittings, photographed on an angle

When it comes to design sensibilities today, I think many would describe this tureen as somewhat gaudy – particularly because any extravagant covered dish for serving soup would be a strange addition to modern dinner tables. However, this style of decorative art was once considered the height of refinement. Emerging from the salons of early […]

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Table Heirlooms

These napkin rings belonged to the Wilson family of Berry.  James C Wilson (1834-1901) emigrated to Australia in 1857 and found work on the Berry Estate, before co-founding Wilson and Co. Store, establishing other business interests that included coal mining, and becoming Berry’s first Mayor.  Around 1880, with wife Robina nee Tait (1849-1918), the Wilsons […]

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A Useful Heirloom

Doris Hogan of Berry must have known this blue and white earthenware dish was old and quite rare, when she generously donated it to the Berry Historical Society in 1979. But what else did she know? Was it just one of those family household objects that is passed on, found left in the kitchen cupboard […]

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What Rhymes with Porringer?

Slightly oxidised, silver bowl with small circle handles

If someone were to politely offer you ‘a little silver porringer of hot terrapin’ would you eagerly accept, respectfully decline, or ask for more information? While such an offer might bewilder contemporary diners, an 1880s gourmet would lick their lips in anticipation of tucking into some creamy turtle soup served in a small silver bowl. […]

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In the Soup

Simple soup tureen made of silver

Soup was an important part of nineteenth century dining. In her 1863 book of household management, Mrs Beeton devotes fifty pages to soup, ranging from the cheap and cheerful ‘Hodge-podge’ to turtle soup – ‘the most expensive brought to table’. Soup was always the first course at any meal, and in wealthier households was brought […]

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