The Museum continues to explore ways to help our visitors connect with art works, the people who made them, and the people who used them. To get those creative juices flowing, we install Mystery Objects in the Maddox Gallery, a space dedicated to 18th-century English life and how people presented themselves through decorative arts objects, paintings, and sculpture.
All decorative arts objects have a purpose, but we do not identify the purpose of our Mystery Objects. Instead, we invite visitors to provide their own ideas and to use response cards to describe, to ask questions about, or to suggest how people may have used them. Visitors post their response cards in the gallery.
Read on to see visitor responses, or post your own online; our curator of decorative arts joins the conversation!
Hungry? In the mood for an omelet? Eighteenth-century cooks used small, circular, covered vessels like these examples–made by Wedgwood of creamware, a kind of low-fired earthenware ceramic–to beat an egg. A series of spikes, or prongs, pointed toward the center line the inner wall. A cook broke an egg into the main vessel, covered it, and shook.
Click Read More to read an 18th-century recipe for an omelet, to see what people are saying, and to join the conversation!
These small, flat receptacles are called asparagus shells. During the 18th century in England, highly decorated ceramic asparagus shells graced the elegant dining tables of the wealthiest individuals, who used them to serve bundles of long asparagus spears.
Usually about three inches long with low, vertical sides, asparagus shells were open at both ends and tapered toward one side. When placed together, a set of asparagus shells formed a circle.
Click Read More to see what people are saying and to join the conversation!