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Tea bowl and saucer

  • Place of origin:

    Staffordshire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1770-1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cream-coloured earthenware (creamware) transfer-printed in black enamel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Charlotte Schreiber

  • Museum number:

    414:1116/&A-1885

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 138, The Harry and Carol Djanogly Gallery, case 9, shelf 1 []

Tea began to be imported into Britain from the middle of the 17th century but remained a luxury item until import duties were abolished in 1784. A fashionable and social drink, during the 18th century it was prepared in front of guests. English tea drinkers differed from their Chinese counterparts by preferring to drink tea hot and with milk and sugar, the latter becoming increasingly available through West Indies sugar plantations which relied on the labour of African slaves.

‘The Tea Party’ engraving by Robert Hancock, which appears on the saucer, is one of the most popular designs to have been used on 18th century English ceramics. It shows a couple drinking tea in a garden, often attended by a young black male servant who pours hot water from a kettle into a teapot. About 10,000 Africans are estimated to have been living in 18th century England, many working as, often unpaid, domestic staff. For their affluent owners these African servants were status symbols who offered ‘exotic associations’ like the new beverage, tea.

Physical description

Tea bowl and saucer of cream-coloured earthenware (creamware) transfer-printed in black enamel

Place of Origin

Staffordshire (made)

Date

ca. 1770-1775 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Cream-coloured earthenware (creamware) transfer-printed in black enamel

Descriptive line

Tea bowl and saucer of cream-coloured earthenware (creamware) transfer-printed in black enamel, Staffordshire, ca. 1770-1775

Techniques

Transfer printing

Subjects depicted

Servant; Man; Tea; Dog; Woman; Sheep; Tree

Categories

Black History; Ceramics; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares; Porcelain

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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