Fashioning the Early Modern - Latest Object in Focus: Swedish Faience Tray

Prepared by: Patrik Steorn, Centre for Fashion Studies, University of Stockholm

This faience tray from the collections of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, was made in Sweden in 1772, decorated with the motif of an English fashion caricature entitled ‘Ridiculous Taste or the Ladies Absurdity’.

The image is ‘after’ an etching with engraving produced by the London print-sellers and makers Matthew and Mary Darly in July 1771 (“Ridiculous Taste or the Ladies’ Absurdities”, 1771, first edition. Lewis Walpole Library, Yale).

The Swedish decorative painter Erik Borg translated the scene from a paper print to a hand-painted faience tray at the Swedish manufacturer Marieberg in Stockholm, which was one of the more creative of the ceramic producers in eighteenth-century Sweden. See: Hernmarck, Carl: Marieberg. En lysande representant för svenskt sjuttonhundratal, Stockholm: Wahlström och Widstrand, 1946, p.194 and Marieberg 1758-1788, (ed. Carl Hernmarck & Bo Gyllensvärd) exhibit. cat. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm 1945, p.5-11).

Due to its shape and motif this tray can be considered a type of ‘conversation piece’, a part of social life organized around drinking tea, coffee or chocolate in private or public meeting places.

For a full version of the paper, please visit our "Object in focus" page at: