This contemporary oyster plate is an example of the highly elaborate tableware that appeared in Europe during the 18th century.
Until the 16th century, the tables of the elite were rarely set with plates but were decorated with edible sculptures or stuffed birds. In the 18th century, with the development of porcelain and the refinement of table manners, different kinds of tableware came into use. Often they were designed specifically for the foods they served: plates shaped like fish, centrepieces ornamented with clusters of grapes, bowls resembling slices of melon.
With its six shell-shaped wells, this oyster plate is a delight for the eyes and palate. In the 19th century, these plates also became popular in bourgeois homes. Their decorative appearance highlights the oyster’s status as an exquisite delicacy.