Entertaining · Holidays

Go For Baroque With A Still Life Inspired Thanksgiving Tablescape

Who knows what Thanksgiving is going to look like in this year of Coronavirus? My family is probably going to have a very small gathering. We may just make a turkey breast instead of the 20lb. bird we usually serve. And we may be eating our dinner outside on the deck snugged up to our patio heaters. Nevertheless, we will celebrate and I will be setting a festive table with all of my china, silver, and crystal. So, with this in mind, I offer my Baroque Still Life Thanksgiving Tablescape from last year as inspiration for whatever celebration you host this year.

I’ve always been enchanted by Dutch Old Masters’ still lifes from the Baroque period.

Jan Davidsz de Heem, Dutch, 1606 – 1683/1684, Vase of Flowers, c. 1660, oil on canvas

And I have often thought that the drama of the lush compositions of vibrantly colored flowers and fruit against a dark background in these still life paintings would make a great theme for an elegant Thanksgiving tablescape. So, when I saw these Harvest Bloom salad plates at Williams-Sonoma last year, it was a given that I would design my table around these gorgeous dishes.

(The Harvest Bloom salad plates are no longer available but the Harvest Bloom dinner plates are still available at a great discount. The W-S Harvest Pumpkin salad plates are also available and with their black backgrounds, they offer a similar look.)

I wanted to use a black tablecloth to echo the background of the salad plates and to serve as a similar canvas for the flower arrangement and the rest of the tablescape. But with a black tablecloth, I definitely needed a dinner plate that would separate and contrast all that black. My white and gold over-sized dinner plates did the trick. However, I still felt my place setting needed a little color. These pumpkin-colored napkins coordinated beautifully with the tones in the plates and added the perfect splash of rich color to the plate stack.

The arrangement was created entirely with grocery store flowers and fruits.

Flowers and fruit provide the other major colorful element on the tablescape. The floral arrangement was my opportunity to try to create my very own Baroque still life masterpiece. Using mums, roses, stock, Hypericum berries, Mandarin oranges, red apples, Comice pears, and pomegranates from the grocery store, I put together this sumptuous and bountiful centerpiece. The colors in the arrangement are pulled directly from the florals on the plates.

 White candles in brass candlesticks, as well as gold votives, add sparkle to the table.

My home is very traditional, and my dining room has a large brass chandelier over the table, so I often add additional brass and gold items to my table settings.  In this case, I added two groups of different-sized brass candlesticks, gold mercury glass votives at each place setting, two pairs of gold pomegranate salt and pepper shakers, and small gold maple leaf plates to coordinate with the light fixture and add some sparkle to the table.

To fit everyone around my table last year, I had to swap out some of my Hepplewhite dining chairs with the more narrow faux bamboo chairs I keep in reserve for extra guests. While the chairs didn’t all match, I think the gold chairs worked with all the other gold objects on the table.
Gold pomegranate salt and pepper shakers sit atop a golden maple leaf plate. In Dutch still lifes, pomegranates symbolize beauty, life, and fertility.
Since my guests served themselves from the counter in my kitchen, I was able to use the dining room buffet to display decorative objects. Wheat sheaves tied with pumpkin-hued ribbons and a rubbed gold compote filled with over-sized mercury glass acorns, mandarine oranges, and sprigs of boxwood coordinate with the colors and theme of table decor.
I tried to coordinate the kitchen buffet line with the tablescape by adding fruit, flowers, and candles to a magnolia runner. 
I used battery-operated pillar candles here so there would be no fire hazard.

Whether you have a large group or just a few folks for Thanksgiving this year, I hope this still life tablescape inspires you to “Go For Baroque.”

A Baroque Still Life Thanksgiving Tablescape

Stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you liked this post, you might be interested in:

A Nature-Inspired Elegant Thanksgiving Tablescape

8 thoughts on “Go For Baroque With A Still Life Inspired Thanksgiving Tablescape

  1. Just stunning! The plates are gorgeous and I love how you incorporated so many natural elements throughout the tablescape and the buffet

  2. Lisa,
    I love your centerpiece! Adding all the different elements was inspiring to me. We will have a tiny Thanksgiving, but I am determined to make it festive.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting. I agree with you, we need as much festivity as we can get these days. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  3. This is strikingly beautiful! You’ve created a gorgeous still life in the table center, loaded with flowers and fruits that give life to the plates! The black tablecloth is a stunning backdrop. I have the salad plates as well, but I’ve always used a light colored cloth or runner ( in a recent post!) as the base. I’m sure any guests would enjoy dinner around this table.

    1. Thanks, Sandra for your kind comment. I checked out your post with the salad plates and I really liked your tablescape as well. It’s so fun to see how different people style the same pieces. Happy Thanksgiving!

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