The Dining Room was a formal, masculine room used for entertaining guests. Sober in style, it was a symbol of the host’s status in society.
The English dined ‘a la francaise’, a style where numerous dishes were placed on the table at once and diners helped themselves to whatever was closest. Servants cleared plates but did not serve.
Fashionable dining promoted a desire for elegant tableware and English porcelain factories flourished with the increased demand for consumer goods. A formal dining set would have cost £32 which is the equivalent of more than £2,000 today.
Luxuries often featured on the Dining Room table came at a terrible human cost. As the British sweet tooth grew demand for sugar increased and the British transatlantic slave trade flourished. By the 1770’s the stolen labour of thousands of enslaved Africans was producing the 12lb per person of sugar consumed annually in Britain in rooms such as this one.