This essay discusses the aesthetic, culinary, and social resonances of an eighteenth-century silver tureen in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Produced in the Paris workshop of Thomas Germain and probably owned by a Portuguese archbishop, the tureen is embellished with crustaceans and vegetables cast in part from nature. By linking the manipulation of silver to the transformative treatment of ingredients in eighteenth-century cuisine, and by reimagining the tureen’s visual effects and conversational potential in the context of a lavish, candle-lit banquet, the essay explores how this artful object would have simultaneously invited and resisted the attention of eighteenth-century diners.

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