The History of the Bowl

With our recent appearance in Channel 4's ‘What Britain Buys’ this week and the growing popularity of the bowl shape, we are celebrating looking back at the history of this traditional tableware piece.

In Medieval times, plates or ‘trenchers’ made of stale bread were used for people to eat off. These were baked using coarse flour, making them exceedingly rigid and strong. Trenchers were the inspiration behind the first plates created in the 5th century and at this time, plates were only available to the elite. It was in the 19th century that the traditional dinner plate become mass-produced, and much more accessible to the public.

In Denby’s earliest years, it was solely utilitarian jars and containers that were first manufactured. The bottles were used for storage and were particularly popular due to their durability, strength and non- porous quality. The first mention of a bowl shape can be traced back to the 1800s and includes the Wesley Centenary Bowl (pictured below), which was a highly decorative piece to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the founder of Methodism. This bowl was the first piece to instigate our commitment to creating distinctive salt-glazed stoneware, of the highest quality. Numerous shapes, sizes and colours of bowls have followed with the launch of new tableware collections in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Now in modern- day, bowls are an everyday necessity, used for cooking, baking, dining and decorating. The healthy eating trend has immensely contributed towards the preference of bowls as the ideal container to help you display and experiment with interesting ingredients and recipes.

Using a bowl makes mixing and matching foods easy, and provides you with the perfect shape on which to present every meal; from a sumptuous dessert to a superfood salad or curry, the bowl holds them all in great style. The bowl is also a highly photogenic piece, due to its ability to amass its contents together. In addition, fans of international cuisine are now choosing the bowl over the plate, as the rounded bowl design suits food types including noodles and rice.

We now produce 32 different styles of bowl, and have recently launched our new collection Natural Canvas, which encompasses a standalone 12-piece Bowl Set as well as a variety of singular bowls including Serving Bowls, Nesting Bowls and Noodle Bowls – it’s a fact, the bowl is here to stay!

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