Monday, October 13, 2008

Archive: An Elegant Art

Le nénuphar (the waterlily)

Le porte-cadeau (the gift)

Le bouton de rose (the rosebud)

L'épi (the trumpet)

Le livre (the book)

The art of folding napkins dates back to the sixteenth century, but, unlike their humble usage today as cutlery rests and clothing protectors, the early napkins were viewed as a refined art form in their own right. These boasted elaborate forms ranging from complex pleated versions (such as the ones shown here) to fanciful animals and architectural follies. Tucked inside the napkin, the dinner guest might discover a small gift, a warmed bread roll, or — centuries ago — live birds that flew out singing upon opening. The elegant cotton damask creations above were folded by Didier Boursin, author of a book on this subject. The speciality breads were from the Paris bakery Poilâne. Scanned from a mid-90s edition of Marie Claire Maison. (Photography by Patrice Pascal)


Jane Flanagan said...

Beautiful photography. I was so distracted by the bread I didn't realize I was supposed to be paying attention to the napkins.

Lori Langille said...

Isn't that bread gorgeous? Each a little work of art.

stacy said...

These photos are fantastic! And the bread makes me hungry.

p.s. I am starting a gift exchange and think you shoud join. You can find the details here

Jessie Cacciola said...

these are amazing! :)

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