Introductory sections on dining ceremony and furnishing set the scene, which moves from grand palaces with sumptuous 18th- and 19th-century table settings, to the bare oak favoured by William Morris, or more intimate private dining rooms and stylish modern interiors. Unusual illustrations, ranging from Elizabethan spice dishes, Italian baroque ice sculpture and Georgian novelty tablewares to emphatically modern Scandinavian ceramics, are show alongside a wealth of painting, historical photographs and original designs revealing an astonishing rich visual heritage. Expert curators and art historians draw on a range of sources such as diaries, novels and manuals of polite beahviour to evoke a vanishing world of arcane etiquette, elegance, luxury and taste. International in outlook, Elegant Eating combines a rich array of individual items used to dress the table - many from the unrivalled collections of the V&A - and authentic historical settings to give them context. In addition, stunning table layouts in the historic manner have been specially created for this book, which will be an inspiration to anyone with an interest in style and interior design.