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Boxed set of twelve fruit trenchers

Boxed set of twelve fruit trenchers

English, c.1600.
Wood, painted with biblical inscriptions, flowers and strapwork and gilt; the box bears the Royal Arms and motto ‘DIEV ET MON / DROYT’.

These twelve circular sycamore platters, in their original container, are rare survivals of Tudor domestic arts in wood, and may have been acquired as a marriage or New Year gift.

Used plain side up to eat fruit as well as sugar plums, marzipan and other sweetmeats after dinner, guests would then flip them over to reveal the painted images and texts. Intended to amuse and stimulate witty conversation, the verses could then be recited or sung in turn, often to the accompaniment of a lute.

Given by Mrs T.T. Greg

Cat. no. 212
M.4.1-13 & A-1920

Image: ©The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge


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