An eye for detail: inside China’s butler school - in pictures
A butler in training inspects the cutlery on a table.
China’s only foreign-run butler school opened last year, riding the coat-tails of increasing demand for the trappings of European-style old money in the Communist-ruled country.
A butler makes sure the table is layed out correctly.
A butler in training puts on his gloves.
Students at the International Butler Academy are drilled daily on everything from ironing perfect creases into tablecloths, polishing silverware, and the correct cutlery to accompany an eight-course banquet.
The country’s elite have employed servants for centuries — with some, such as the eunuchs of the Imperial court, enjoying high status and power of their own — but screen representations of British-style butlers have lent them a new aura of luxury.
Butlers have a long history in Western books and films, from Jules Verne’s Passepartout and PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves to Alfred from the Batman movie franchise, but it is Downton Abbey’s Carson who has stoked appetites in China.