“I have to be seen to be believed.” ~ Queen Elizabeth II
Roll out the red carpet and practice your curtsies. Polish your tiara if you like.
A very special guest is joining us for tea today!
Mr. Cornelius has been a fan of Her Majesty the Queen for a long time. He likes that she loves animals and chocolate, lives in several beautiful royal residences, always wears the best hats, and has reigned for an amazing 60 years!
Needless to say, he was beside himself when she accepted our invitation. We spiffed up the dining room, stocked up on Earl Grey and Darjeeling (reputedly her favorite), and made finger sandwiches and cake.
We were a little nervous but she immediately put us at ease. Imagine our great surprise when she brought Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry with her! They were such a jolly group and didn’t seem to mind dipping in hot water. 🙂
“Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea.” ~ Mary Elizabeth Braden (Lady Audley’s Secret)
I’ve been having fun looking at late 19th and early 20th century paintings depicting people drinking or serving tea. Most of the subjects are beautifully decked-out, in-the-garden or fancy-sitting-room women who seem to have all the time in the world.
I love imagining their intimate conversations — secrets shared, pride in their children, juicy gossip. I also like the women taking tea alone in quiet contemplation, and covet the lovely tea sets and table settings.
I had to look harder for male subjects, since when it comes to tea drinking in fine art, women reign supreme. What would the great artists of the world do without us to sit for them? It’s not easy lounging about and looking gorgeous all the time. 🙂
Hope you enjoy these different settings, social and cultural contexts, and thinking about how the ritual of sharing tea fosters a special brand of intimacy. It’s always fascinating to try to read different personalities via facial expressions and posturing. Since there are so many good tea paintings out there, it was hard to pick just 40. Each of these tells a wonderful story.
“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room . . . “ ~ May Sarton
When it’s cold and snowy out, there’s nothing better than treating yourself to a little cream tea.
I like to split a warm scone, spread on some strawberry jam and clotted cream, and sip a nice cup of Yorkshire Gold.
Gone are the winter blues, and I’m quite content to while away the hours reading, writing, thinking. I’m safe and warm in a room I’ve filled with some of my favorite things: a copper teapot, Dickens books from Foyles in London, a dozen antique teddy bears, an English phone booth, an Addams Family “Thing” bank, a kazoo, and a bone china bouquet of violets (one broken).