I was recently invited to Osterley House to see the exhibition of silver tableware. ‘Made for the Table’ shows how our ideas about beauty as represented in table decorations have changed from 1600 to the present day.
The exhibition includes Osterley’s own rare and antique silver, typically ornate and ostentatious as befitted the status of Sir Francis Child, founder of Child’s bank, whose family restored the house (originally Tudor but fallen into disrepair) in the late eighteenth century with the aid of architect Robert Adam. Among the collection is a solid silver wine cooler it apparently took five men to carry. The exhibition also includes an exquisite collection of modern silverware from the Goldsmith’s Company.
‘Made for the Table’ is open until the end of February and the National Trust house, the cafe in the old stable block and the park, with its lake and landscaped gardens, is lovely to visit at any time.