Why is there a carpet under the table cloth?
In the seventeenth century, the carpet was the actual table cloth! The tables in Dutch houses of the period were not intended to be seen bare, but were expected to be covered with the best textiles that money could buy, the same type that covered their floors and walls. The carpet was too valuable to be placed on the floor and so at this time they were displayed on tables. This display evokes the Schenck's dining room as it looked during a meal, with the white linen protecting the lush, richly-woven Oriental textile from spills and stains. After the meal, the dinnerware and the white linen would be cleared and the rug would once again command guests' attention as one of the more expensive showpieces in the Schenck's dining room.