Sunday, December 1, 2019

Victorian Dining and Table Etiquette

Those pretty candle shades, so much in use, were decorative to the furnishings of the table, but they prevented the most effective and becoming light at Victorian dinner parties.

Etiquette Notes for the Victorian Woman and the Home


A woman who has carefully studied the effects of light at her dinners says that unshaded candles in high, old fashioned candelabra that branch out in many directions, are absolutely the perfection of light for a table, and are, too a most becoming light to the faces of the guests gathered around it. The candelabra should be tall enough to carry the lights fairly high. The pretty candle shades so much in use are decorative to the furnishings of the table, but they prevent the most effective and becoming light.

A knitted table padding is being offered for use under table cloths. It is especially recommended because it does not grow hard after washing, as does the ordinary table pad. For a polished table, too, its protection is claimed to be more perfect. 


Cosmos and pansies are preferred for cloths intended for round tables. Sometimes entire plants are used to form a double border, with a plain linen center, and a plain strip between. The latest and most fashionable tablecloths have centers of plain linen, to which deep floral borders extend from the hem. Poppies, lilacs or goldenrod are favorite designs. Floral designs are preferred, the figures being larger and more pronounced than ever, this season.

Some damasks show the representations of whole plants or of a great branch bearing both flowers and foliage. Lace-trlmmed table linen is more fashionable than it was last season. Three new laces are used in ornamenting it. One is a French lace, resembling heavy linen torchon of elaborate patterns; another is a Russian lace of close meshes and clumsy figures.

Table linen that is not trimmed with lace, should be marked with embroidered initials. The accepted size for letters on tablecloths is two and one-half inches, and for napkins one and one-half inches. The initials should be intertwined, but the old-fashioned monogram style is no longer admissible.

In the serving of a pineapple:  Slice it, dip it in grated coconut, and pile high on a dish of fine white china.

A jelly sauce that is used for meats or the game course, requires that the jelly should be melted to the liquid state, and a tablespoonful of wine added just as it is sent around.
–Sacramento Daily Union, 1898



 Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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