The Baroque style, popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, began in Italy and quickly spread to the rest of Europe. Characterised by luxury, drama and ornate detail, the style impacted upon all areas of art and design. In 2010, the V&A hosted the major exhibition ‘Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence’..
The Marlborough Ewer and Basin
These spectacular pieces are of supreme importance, for their historical connections, their superb quality and their rarity. Marked 1711-12, they were made by Elie Pacot, a leading French goldsmith for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, one of Britain's greatest military leaders.
Video: Baroque - Leeds centrepiece
This video demonstrates the assembly of the centrepiece, showing the transition from the savoury course to the dessert course. The surtout or centrepiece first appeared in France around 1700. As its name suggests, it was the centrepiece of the table display. Called a ‘machine’, it had a double function. As well as candlesticks, it included a tureen and cruet stands for the service of the savoury, and caster stands and dishes for dessert. This film featured in the V&A exhibition Baroque: Style in the Age of Magnificence.