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Original China, Crystal and Silver

A place setting on a dining room table that is made up of the original china, crystal and silverware of Government House SK
Found in the Dining Room

Chosen by

Heather Salloum, Former Executive Director and Private Secretary for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor 

Chosen because

For as long as I can remember, I have loved beautiful china, crystal, and silverware,” Ms. Salloum said.  “My mother, grandmother and aunts instilled this appreciation in me, I think, and I take much delight in “setting a table” and enjoying the settings in others’ homes.”

The china, crystal, and silverware in the Museum Dining Room always make me stand and stare.  I have imagined people using the dinnerware and sitting around that grand table.  I have told, hundreds of times, the story of the official who was ill on the day of the auction, resulting in the vault remaining locked and the contents untouched.

“Several times a year, the Dining Room is used for special hospitality events, and I feel a sense of “history in my midst” when sitting in that room.  Naturally, we do not use the House china, crystal, and silverware, as they remain treasured artifacts of the Museum; but, having them on display pulls us into the past in a gentle way.”

General History

Victorians were known for their indulgence and extravagance in everyday lives which included formal dinners.  Dining at Government House included 7 to 10 courses of food, all richly prepared.  Dinner was served “à la Russe” which meant that dishes were served by the servants and were kept on a side table, not placed on the dining table.  The only dishes placed on the table were filled with olives, pickles, radishes, etc., as well as fruit and small pastries.


Menus were almost always written in French and presented to each guest at the table.  This is an example from the 1901 visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later to become King George V and Queen Mary):

  • Appetizer: Caviar on toast
  • Soup: Imperial consommé
  • Fish: White fish with tartar sauce
  • Entree: Cornish hen with cream sauce
  • Meat: Filets of beef with Eastern spices
  • Game: Wild duck or Prairie chicken
  • Salad: Russian salad (similar to potato salad)
  • Entremets: Jam pudding, cheese
  • Dessert: Vanilla ice cream
  • Fruit: Assorted varieties
  • Black coffee

Vegetables, side dishes and fresh rolls would accompany the meat courses.

Utensils and Glasses

For each course, there was a separate and specific utensil and glass:

  • Appetizer: with hands unless an oyster course, then with an oyster fork
  • Soup: a soup spoon
  • Fish: a fish knife and fork
  • Entrée (includes meat and game course):a dinner knife and fork
  • Salad: a small fork and dinner knife
  • Entremets: a teaspoon and knife and fork for the cheese portion
  • Dessert: a small fork and spoon
  • Fruit: a slender fork and knife


  • Water: throughout the meal
  • Sherry: after the soup course
  • Hock or Chablis: after the fish course
  • Champagne: after the first entrée and throughout the meal until dessert
  • Red wine: after the meat course
  • Dessert wine: after the entremets course
  • Port, sherry or Madeira: after the dessert course
  • Coffee: at the end of the meal (the cup and saucer would not be placed on the table until the dessert course)

Another piece of china important to note was the salt cellar.  It was a small, individual salt dish with its own spoon for adding salt to any course.  Salt cellars were used before salt shakers became popular in the 1950s and were usually placed between two people to share or each guest received their own.  The salt cellar and pepper shaker was placed above and to the left of the service plate.