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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 25, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 4
Homewood House Museum Offers Lecture Series on the Art of Dining

A wine rinser was a common sight on the table during an elaborate meal of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A different wine was served with each course of the meal, so the glass would be rinsed between servings. In addition, the abundance of highly reflective cut glass would have added to the glittering effect of a dinner party.

By Heather Egan
Historic Houses

On six Wednesdays this fall, Homewood House will present "Repast as Ritual: The Objects of Entertaining at Homewood House Museum," a series of lectures relating to the art of dining in the Federal period.

What unusual entertaining customs were practiced in the fledgling American republic? What types of objects did Baltimore's prominent Carroll family, owners of Homewood House, use on their dining table? Where did the objects come from? How were they purchased? In the "Repast as Ritual" lecture series, distinguished experts will examine the spectacle of dining in the Federal period, with particular focus on the social meanings and fashionable forms of the silver, ceramic and glass objects in Homewood's collections.

Lectures, to be held October 4, 11, 18 and 25 and on Nov. 1 and 8, will begin at 2 p.m. and last approximately 90 minutes. The cost of the series is $146 ($124 for museum members; $75 for students and museum volunteers); admission to single lectures is $35 ($30 for members; $15 for students and volunteers). Because seating is limited, pre-paid registration is required. For more information, call 410-516-5589, e-mail or go to

The schedule is as follows:

Oct. 4: Barbara Carson explores the art of dining and socializing customs in the new republic in her talk, "Strange Customs Prevail: Entertaining at Home in the Early National Period." Carson is the author of Ambitious Appetites: Dining, Behavior and Patterns of Consumption in Federal Washington and former professor of material culture at the College of William and Mary.

Oct. 11: Catherine Rogers Arthur, curator of Homewood House, discusses the museum's English, French and Chinese ceramics collections, some of which are known to have a Carroll family provenance and others that were owned by related and contemporary families.

Oct. 18: Edward Papenfuse, Maryland state archivist, offers a fascinating account of how objects for food and dining were ordered from agents in London. The author of In Pursuit of Profit: The Annapolis Merchants in the Era of the American Revolution, 1763-1805, Papenfuse teaches courses at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Law School.

Oct. 25: Mark Letzer, regional silver scholar and curator of the Maryland Historical Society's exhibition on Annapolis silversmith William Faris, considers the relationship of Homewood's silver collection to pieces known to have been used by the Carrolls.

Nov. 1: Amanda Lange, curator of historic interiors at Historic Deerfield and curator of the special exhibition "The Canton Connection: Art and Commerce of the China Trade 1784-1860," discusses the tableware and specialty glass in Homewood's collections.

Nov. 8: Robin Emmerson, author of British Teapots and Tea Drinking 1700-1850, provides insights into tea-drinking rituals. Emmerson is head of decorative arts at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England.


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