Meissen and the Touch of History

This is a postcard a relative sent me. They had an interesting exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam of dinnerware from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, showing some gorgeous sets used by the Tsars.

Exhibition: Dining with the Tsars: Fragile Beauty from the Hermitage
Meissner Porzellan – Manufaktur, Germany, 1744-45
Foto: Kees Hageman


No one did things grander than the Russian court for large dinner parties. Tableware was often used diplomatically between countries as a sign of friendship and goodwill. Even Stalin got a service from the Hungarians in 1949.

It’s amazing to think that this service has survived from 1745. In the exhibition they have laid it out as it would have been in a real banquet.

Pretty, but I can’t help thinking of the ghastly Revolution and the aftermath, including the murder of the Romanovs and Stalin’s rise to power. All the misery of decades seems contained in this Meissen service. It shouldn’t be, I suppose I should think of better things, but it is rather haunting to think of it sitting in palaces and then museums, holding the history with it, the touch of rich sauces and long-dead hands.



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