A Chop-House by Henry Bunbury, 1781.
The pair eating on the right are Dr. Johnson (in the large white wig) and James Boswell.
Chop houses served a mix of simple, ready prepared roast and boiled meats, pies, steaks and chops. They provided a quick and affordable service for those who wished to dine away from home. Like coffee houses, they were attended by men and were deemed inappropriate places for women. During this time, the role of women was largely restricted to the domestic setting. There was very little opportunity for them to lead public lives.Description from the Sheffield Museum website
The diners are using the typical cutlery and flatware of the late 1700s. Their forks have the traditional two tines. Three tine forks had recently began to be used at the time this engraving was produced. They became increasingly popular by the end of the 1700s. The long, curved knife blades are also typical of the 1700s. They are a style known as scimitar. The handles are a fashionable shape of the time known as pistol grip. These are sometimes referred to as pistol haft in Sheffield. This type of blade had a dual purpose as the rounded end could be used to scoop up sauce like a spoon. Each table is laid with bottles of sauce. Like today, oil, vinegar and ketchup were popular table condiments at this time.
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