Batterie de cuisine (pots and pans)
The range of copper pans and utensils lining the shelves form part of the original batterie de cuisine used in the kitchens in Ferdinand and Alice’s time.
The term ‘battery’ originally referred to the process of hammering wares from sheet metal.
Made by Jones Brothers of London the set comprises shallow sauté pans for frying, larger ‘stewpans’ for boiling vegetables and smaller pans for sauces and glazes. Meat would have been turned on a spit (replaced by the present range in the 1920s). Other articles include hot water baths (bain-maries) for gently simmering delicate sauces and the large kite-shaped turbot kettle which allowed the fish to be cooked whole. On the top shelf of the dresser are an assortment of shaped dessert moulds for jelly and blancmange and ring moulds for main dishes.
The inside of each pan, as well as many of the rims, are lined with tin (‘tinned’) to guard against the bad taste and toxic verdigris produced by copper.
When James and Dorothy inherited Waddesdon in 1922, Dorothy recalled the shelves ‘…bore row upon row of shining copper pans. Variously shaped for every culinary purpose, and in every size, each of these bore a monogram – F. R. on the older ones, and A. R. on the more modern.’ Some are further inscribed W for Waddesdon and L for London.
Dorothy also recollected how ‘Some of the coppers needed two people to carry them, even when they were empty…’ and thought the staff ‘…possessed of immense physical strength’.