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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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