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Singularly essential for the elegant serving of soups, the ceramic tureen has appeared as part of refined table settings since the days of the 17th century service of the French kings. Tureens are considered equally elegant today, with their presence becoming increasingly frequent thanks to their combination of decorative flair and service utility.

The tureen came into popularity in the late 17th century as the ideal means for serving soup to a large party. Adding decoration to the tabletop, the tureen also preserved the temperature of the soup, allowing it to cool slowly and thus be enjoyed longer. So popular was the tureen that its smaller relative, the "écuelle," emerged, tailored to service for one.

The tureen became an essential serving piece included in all lines of fine dinnerware, allowing the form to evolve in response to consumer tastes and trends. From the ornate porcelain pieces of Sevres or Staffordshire to the sleeker designs of early 20th century modernism, the tureen lends itself to these variations while still upholding the grand tradition of elegant table service.

Quick Facts

  • The term "tureen" originates in the French language. Most believe it emerged as a misspelling of the French work "terrine," which refers to a long earthenware dish used for culinary mixtures, such as pate, to cure
  • One of the record-setting sales for a tureen occurred in 1996 at Sotheby's New York. Up for sale was a silver soup tureen designed for French King Louis XV in the workshop of acclaimed silversmith Thomas Germain. Weighing in at 30 pounds, the tureen sold for $10,000,000
  • One of the heirs of the Campbell's Soup corporation, John T. Dorrance, is known to have amassed the world's large soup tureen collection, now part of the collection of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware

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Piero Fornasetti
Aug 07, 10:00 PM EDT
Piero Fornasetti
by Asté Maison de ventes
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$1,5001 Bid

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Asté Maison de ventes

Asté Maison de ventes