friday feast: a spot of vintage tea


I had a little tea party, this afternoon at three.
‘Twas very small, three guests in all, I, Myself, and Me.
Myself ate up the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea.
‘Twas also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to Me!


Children have been enjoying their own little tea parties since at least the early 19th century. They know a good thing when they see it. Shall we join them?


by Kate Greenaway

You are going out to tea today,
So mind how you behave;
Let all accounts I have of you
Be pleasant ones, I crave.

Say “If you please,” and “Thank you, Nurse;”
Come home at eight o’clock;
And, Fanny, pray be careful that
You do not tear your frock.

Now, mind your manners, children five
Attend to what I say;
And then, perhaps, I’ll let you go
Again another day.

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Opera Comique in London, 1898

Actually, these twins with their dollies kind of scare me.

It’s fun to look at old photos, isn’t it? Cute little faces, but some so serious. Still wondering how they got some of the animals to sit still and pose.:)

I like the ones with cats and dogs the best.


*   *   *

poetryfriday180Lovely and talented educator, poet, fly-fisherwoman and champion chocolate cake baker Mary Lee Hahn is hosting the Roundup at A Year of Reading. Sashay over and check out the full menu of poetic goodies being shared in the blogosphere this week. Why not have a tea party with your dogs and cats (and bears!) this weekend?

**Reminder: I’m posting a Roundup of 2014 Poetry Month Kidlitosphere Events on April 1. Email me with your info and links if you’d like to be included:

readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com.




Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

38 thoughts on “friday feast: a spot of vintage tea

  1. Amazing photos! I’m looking forward to seeing your April Round-Up. I’m doing ekphrastic poems (email coming).


  2. Wonderful photos! I especially love the one with the serious little girl facing off with her serious dog–and those cats posed on tiny chairs at the table! Glad Mr. Cornelius was able to have his own vintage sitting.


  3. I wish I’d known you were doing this–I’d have sent you a circa 1930s photo of Frank and his “girlfriend” having tea in her backyard. It’s so sweet and unstaged . . . loved the one of the cats the best, the one drinking from the cup, but can’t understand how the other two are sitting so nicely in their chairs, especially with that big dog there!


    1. Yes, I wondered the same thing.

      Who would have thought Frank the Soup Man has a history of backyard tea parties? Ooh-la-la! Maybe you can post that photo on your blog sometime with a good story.:)


  4. These photos are utterly charming and remind me of my many childhood tea parties—which I am sure were less charming, but just as fun! Sweet poems, too. Thanks for posting.


  5. Photo #3: The girl on the right: her expression and hairstyle remind me of photos of my mother at that age.

    Photo #5: The terrier is thinking, “Would someone *please* take the doily off me and bring me my water bowl?”


  6. These old photographs are so interesting. You are right, some of the faces are so serious and/or haunted. The one with the dog fully dressed was the best. Our little pooch would NEVER allow that – or sit still long enough to have her picture snapped. Thanks for the smile today, Jama. = )


  7. What a sweet post, Jama! The photos are beautiful and speak of a time gone by. I will have to come back to this one! = )


    1. Sigh, yes, a time gone by. These days, the kids in such tea parties would have their iPhones or iPads at the table while they drink tea.:)


  8. Oh my, what a lot of darling photos, & some interesting, like the 3 children with the dishes on the ground. They look as if they’ve been caught… My daughter was well able to dress our cat in old baby clothes, & the cat sat still as still for tea parties, etc. As for the multiple animals all together, I wonder how! Thanks Jama, late to the party, but I enjoyed the ‘leftovers’!


    1. I was wondering about those dishes on the ground — more of them there than at the table. And they do look guilty, don’t they? They seem more the picnic type to me. Sounds like you had a very docile cat. Good bribes, I imagine.:)


  9. What an amazing collection of tea party interpretations, Jama! My youngest LOVED tea parties, and these pictures bring back memories of her interpretations…although one of our pets were as cooperative as the ones in the photographs seem to be!


    1. Those were some very well behaved pets. Maybe they knew their photos were being taken for posterity. We’re still talking about them 100 years later, after all.


  10. I have three daughters, so I can relate. My girls loves to dress up our cat, who was always willing and stroll him around the house. Love the pictures! I sent an email about my A to Z poetry month project.


  11. Love all the photographs, love the vintage feel and the stories behind them, and the tea of course. Would so love to have tea with you someday! Come visit me here in Singapore!:)


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