In a brilliant collaboration with the esteemed Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, Maison Fête had the distinguished honour of bringing Georgian grandeur back to life for an exclusive dinner affair. Set within the walls of this architectural marvel, once the countryside escape of the celebrated 18th-century architect Sir John Soane and a one hour journey by carriage from central London, we embarked on a journey to recreate an era of opulent gatherings.
Immersing ourselves in the world of Sir John Soane, a figure whose work I've long admired, was nothing short of a dream. Styling a dinner table, almost two hundred years later, in his once-beloved retreat with pieces from Maison Fête's collection felt like stepping back in time, crafting an atmosphere that Soane himself would have reveled in.
Pitzhanger Manor has taken to rekindle the essence of Soane’s famed dinner parties, inviting guests to partake in a dining experience that mirrors the Georgian era's elegance. Working in tandem with private chef Tom Isenschmid, Maison Fête curated a selection of crockery and cutlery that perfectly complemented the unique 18th-century menu, ensuring every detail was a nod to the past.
The evening commenced in the Manor's iconic Chinoiserie drawing room, which we matched with Zardi & Zardi for Maison Fete et Cie tablecloth, where guests were greeted with Ruinart Blanc de Blanc Champagne, a favourite of Soane's, setting the stage for a night of historical immersion. Our early nineteenth century Criel et Montereau plate collection and matching tureen (coming soon) were showcased in a Sheraton cabinet, drawing the eye and sparking conversation.
Dinner unfolded with a serving of white soup, followed by a hearty main course of ox cheeks and potatoes, all the impressive French creamware service of Gien Pont aux Choux in the colour mais, a famous French 18th century model and colour which has now been discontinued. The table, adorned with candelabra and épèrgnes true to the period, was a vision of 18th-century elegance, complemented by etched wine glasses and our original Annie Goblet for water.
The authenticity extended beyond the table setting, with actors in 18th-century attire serving wine and water from antique decanters and jugs. Inspired by the 1747 "London Art of Cookery," we crafted menus and place cards that captured the event's historical essence.
In preparation, we delved into archives and uncovered references to items purchased by Soane’s wife, Eliza, in 1804 (below). This research underscored our dedication to creating an evening that not only honoured Georgian elegance but also felt as if it had been plucked straight from history.