More about The Walpole Dish, 2014
'All the Geniuses of the Age are Employed in Designing New Plans for Dessert’
- Horace Walpole 1750
'This quotation was spotted amongst a display of fine silver and ceramic serving dishes and dinnerware in the Holburne Museum in Bath. It was written in a period of enormous change in Britain. The Industrial Revolution was underway with technological advances fuelling new production techniques; society was in transition with labourers moving from the countryside to the new manufacturing centres. A new middle class was emerging with an appetite for the fashionable products of the period.
Horace Walpole is making an observation that implies that many of his contemporaries are wasting their talent on trivia and that the demand for elaborate excess has diverted them from far more fundamental and important work that would provide a greater benefit to society in general.
The quotation appealed to me because it could describe our present situation in relation to the new Industrial Revolution of digital manufacturing. As with any exciting advance, there is a great deal of interest, but it has resulted in the production of diverse products that would be far more efficiently manufactured using appropriate and proven technologies. Having said that, experimentation with the new is to be welcomed, as it tests the technology and challenges the developers.'
- Michael Eden