The period looking dinner table.

I am in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and one of my missions is to educate people about what exactly a "period" (read, pre 1600)  dinner table looks like.

There are dinner feasts that are wonderful in the Society and people bring their own dinnerware, however  I have noticed that many tables come to resemble a Victorian ideal of what a medieval table would look like.

I have looked through various manuscripts and am putting up a number of table pictures from different sources. Personally, I have created as close to what a period table would look like for my own table.

 I have found that the white tablecloth reflects light and the low lamps are very bright in an otherwise dark room. I don't have "sets" of dinnerware or flatware and I don't do centerpieces.  

picture 1

putting the bread straight on the table. I think that they just threw it at the table!

picture 2

simple.Small lamp at the end?

Creating your own period (pre-1600) table.

I have found it really easy to create a table setting that looks very similar to the pictures in the manuscripts. I started out with a white table cloth from Sams, I got a round one and a long banquet one(they come in sets of several to a package) and then I went looking on ebay for plates, bowls, cups and something to put the salt in.

My dishes had to be unadorned and metal. I found a lot that look like they came from a salad bar at Shoney's, I didn't get those, but they might be fine in a pinch.

Bowls were the most difficult to find and you could always go with wood salad bowls.

I got a set  of spoons that are round and simple.

The cups that I got are very simple and look like beakers, I was even thinking that aluminum ones that are the right color might work.

We found a set of knives at Gulf Wars that  look right (look at pictures for the right effect)

I took small oil lamps that were at Hobby Lobby and a can of silver spray paint, voila! tiny oil lamps that don't look plasticey.

You could add a pitcher or two and other small dishes if you wish.

I added napkins (white) from Sams too.

I found a salt cellar in the shape of a small curvy dragon ship (I have been tempted by metal gravy boats too) this is one thing that is really fun to be outrageous about. Look at pictures of real ones and search thrift shops, you'd be surprised at what you will find!

The table that you create will be easy to care for, very illuminated in a dark room and worry free.

Happy dining! 

picture 3

notice there are only two plates for 4 people. 

picture 4

One of the few times that I have seen candlesticks.

picture 5

cute little metal cups. Another small oil lamp in the middle?

picture 6

I like the central serving dish.

picture 7

Look napkins! you don't see those very often.

picture 8

there are more dishes on the sideboard than are on the tables!

picture 9

notice the embroidery at the end.

picture 10

a humble dinner looks the same as a kings dinner. 

picture 11

this tablecloth is diapered and there are candlesticks again.

picture 12

this is the other end of the same table as pic 11

picture 13

I think that the small round dish is either a lamp or a sauce dish.

picture 14

more embroidery at the ends, it is probably two different cloths (like church altars are done now)

picture  15

love the salt cellars

picture 16

eating with hands.

picture 17

1 pitcher, 1 cup, 1 plate

picture 18

not even a long hanging down tablecloth

picture 19

there is a small fringe all the way around the edge.

picture 20

look, a heart shaped sotelty! she has a big knife, I'll bet he's glad he ordered that!

picture 21

even in the bath, the table looks the same! 

picture 22

just so that you didn't think that it was too unusual, another dinner bath. 

picture 23

dinner in the afterlife seems similar, except for the snakes and spiders.

picture 24

look a modern looking loaf of bread! (they must have bread pans too)