Le Dejeuner d'Huitres
(the oyster's lunch)
This painting was ordered by Louis XV to Jean-Francois de Troy in 1735. The King of France wanted it for the main dining room of the apartments at Versailles Palace in Paris. It was there that the King would eat in privacy, often coming back from hunting.
On the left hand side, the domestics are watching the Champagne cork flying (left column) whilst the Gentleman around the table are eating Oysters served with garlic, butter, salt & pepper. It was amongst the favorite dish at the end of the XVIIIth century. Henri the fourth was known to eat up to 300 of them in one dinner!
The painting shows us some of the customs of the time. The table was dressed with a white table cloth. It was round to avoid any etiquette... The cutlery was made of solid silver and the tableware of fine porcelain probably from China or Japan. The bottles of Champagne were kept cold in cool water (at the front).