Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lunch at le château de Hopkins.

The Lunch table at le château de Hopkins set up for the first course. 

Last Saturday I had a light Summer lunch for a friend I had just met. We had been friends on facebook for a year because of our common interest in 18th century France, art, antiques and decorative art. I had the chance to meet him last week when he came down to New Orleans to give a lecture titled "Luxuries in Louisiana: Creating (and Buying) Respectability in the Colonial Gulf Coast South, 1699–1803" He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, was a curator at the prestagest Getty Museum. He is now a PhD student in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University. 

Philippe has a great love for 18th century France and my favorate French Queen Marie Antoinette. I invited him over to le château to see my French Royal collection of memorabilia, 18th century French furniture, portraits and decorative art over a light summer lunch. We both were invited for dinner in his honor later that evening. I wanted lunch to be light, because I did not know how heavy dinner would be later that evening. The first course I made Creole fried green tomatoes that I had bought at a local farmer's market the same morning. Second course was Creole Shrimp salad à la Hopkins. Made with local fresh Gulf shrimp also bought at the farmers market. 

And last the third course was dessert, Pistachio Almond ice cream. In the 18th and first part of the 19th century the dessert course was always served on a table top with the tablecloth removed. This course was sometime called "bare mahogany" because it was served right on the wood top of the table. The most wanted item to see in my collection by Philippe to see is a rare 18th century Louisiana cabriole leg table that we were eating off of, but covered with linen tablecloth.  In the 19th century people sat at the table as servants removed everything on top of the table and rolled the tablecloth up and then placed the desert setting on the wood table top. At le château de Hopkins there are no servants just me. 

The Lunch table at le château de Hopkins set up for the first course. The 1830's Louis Philippe salad plate, one of 6, I purchased when I was a teenager in a shop in the French Quarter. The pattern looks like transferware but is all handpainted.  

I bought some wonderful hydrangeas at my local farmer's market. They are displayed in a period Empire Classical urn. 

The small fork is in the fiddle and thread pattern and is Mobile, Alabama made coin silver made for a Creole family. The dinner fork is American coin silver. The dessert spoon over the plate is French. The ivory handle knife is French 1820's. 

Glassware from the Left is a American/English water glass circa 1870. In the middle English Regency barrel shape wine glass circa 1820 and a 1820's American Pittsburgh cordial glass. 

The centerpiece of the table was a Old Paris porcelain vase painted with a scene of  Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning "desire") is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection, sitting on his mother's lap love goddess Venus as they float on a cloud. He is enjoying a glass of Ambrosia, Nectar of the gods, his mother Venus just poured for him. 

While preparing lunch I heard a New Orleans Jazz funeral

Jazz funeral is a common name for a funeral tradition with music which developed in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The tradition blends strong European and African cultural influences. Louisiana's colonial past gave it a tradition of military style brass bands which were called on for many occasions, including playing funeral processions. This was combined with African spiritual practices, specifically the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.

Jazz funerals are also heavily influenced by early twentieth century African American Protestant and Catholic churches, black brass bands, and the Haitian Voudoo's idea of celebrating after death in order to please the spirits who protect the dead. Another group that has had an impact on jazz funerals is the Mardi Gras Indians.

Plate setting for the Second course.

French Louis XVI period antique 18th century Old Paris porcelain ribbed plates, dishes from the Boissettes porcelain factory located outside of Paris in operation from ca. 1778-ca. 1785. The plates are decorated with handpainted garden flowers and gilt dentil border.

For dessert I used plates used by American dignitaries & Emperor Napoleon lll in the late 1840's. 

Paris porcelain plates with shield of America/American eagle with Emperor Napoleon lll eagle on each plate. The American eagle with a red, white, and blue banner reading "E Pluribus Unum", the national motto. I purchased the plates in Paris market of Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, also known as Clignancourt.  I was told by the Clingnancourt dealer that the plates were used at a dinner in Paris in the late 1840's with American dignitaries & French Emperor Napoleon lll.

I placed the shell shape gilt rim French Baccarat dish over the Old Paris porcelain plate. 

Third course table setting. 

First course, Creole fried green tomatoes!

Second course was Creole Shrimp salad à la Hopkins. 

Third course was dessert, Pistachio Almond ice cream served on the wood table top. 

This is the table we eat off of. It is a Extremely rare Early Louisiana 18th century cabriole leg table. It is one of the most elaborate found of theses types of tables. The cabriole legs ending in the rare 'pied-de-biche' feet which are carved to resemble a deer's cloven hoof. It has one of the most beautiful and sophisticated skirts on this type of table. It's overall grace, style & size makes it a fine example of the best Louisiana 18th century cabriole leg tables. Less than 10 of theses beautiful and rare quality tables are known to exist today.

Third course was dessert, Pistachio Almond ice cream.


  1. I admire men who are full of the glamours knowledge of old furniture and china

    You set your table all so elegantly and anyone would be an honored guest to set there

    I liked the movie Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil true story in Savannah Georgia about Jim Williams , I got to your his house
    once when I was in Savannah
    I like the Jazz funerals and as a catholic would like one

  2. How marvelous to have an opportunity to entertain your friend Philippe in such style, and with beautiful collections of table articles collected over time with love and care.

    Your friend must have been bowled over by your hospitality, and your collections.

    His lecture sounds intriguing and one I'd have enjoyed attending.

  3. I love researching antiques and used to really love old silverware and learning about the old patterns. Love that table and enjoyed meeting you today!