Temporary exhibitions

About noble tables and banquets. How people feasted in the past

From 4 June 2019 to 29 September 2019, the exhibition About noble tables and banquets. How people feasted in the past will be exhibited in the Former Palace of Krakow Bishops in Kielce. For centuries, a rich table laden with food was for most people the ideal of happiness. The feasts that were arranged on many occasions were opportunities to present the splendour and richness of the house. The abundance of ingeniously served dishes along with the sumptuousness and refinement of the tableware were characteristic features of the 17th, 18th and 19th century feasts of the gentry. Not only were fancy and exquisite dishes important, but also the ways in which they were served. Even with the passing of the Baroque, a rich table with an astonishingly diverse meal remained a characteristic element of noble hospitality. Tableware was a sign of the hosts’ prestige and wealth, regardless of whether it was of gold, silver, brittle porcelain or glass. The feasts were intended to astonish and delight all the participants. The main goal of the exhibition is to evoke such emotions in the visitors. The exhibition will present various fields of artistic craft, demonstrating a wide range of items that appeared in contemporary dining rooms and kitchens. The exhibits include pottery (porcelain and faience), glass, metal (silver, tin and copper) vessels as well as fabrics and furniture that could be enjoyed by the feasters. Their forms and purposes evolved under the influence of trends in fine arts along with changes in customs at the table and the development of the culinary arts. In addition to luxury items used to emphasize the richness, importance and social position of the owner, some slightly more modest vessels will be included. The latter would be used every day, both in noble dining rooms and kitchens. To present a fuller picture of old customs, apart from the dishware used to prepare and serve refined meals, we will present the earliest Polish cookbooks, with recipes that may seem peculiar to the modern reader.

The exhibition will be presented at the Former Palace of the Krakow Bishops, and will feature several hundred items borrowed from various Polish museums. We will do everything to make it a real feast for the eye and the spirit of every visitor.


Exhibition curator: Magdalena Silwanowicz
Exhibition coordinator: Paweł Król