Trade Card thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case TOPIC, Shelf 4

Trade Card

ca. 1830 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Tea from China became available in England in the late 17th century. Initially, its cost and rarity made it a fashionable drink for the wealthy but over the course of the 18th century its increasing availability saw it enjoyed by the population at large. Chinese tea was always accompanied by sugar imported from Britain’s colonies in the West Indies where it was produced by enslaved African workers. Campaigns to end Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade included boycotts of West Indies-produced sugar.

This trade card was printed to publicise the services of Mowbray & Son, a ‘genuine tea dealers and grocers’ and importer of ‘spices, fish sauces and pickles’ which had an outlet on Newport High Street. Trade cards were a popular form of advertisement and the designer of this card has emphasised the exotic associations of the tropical commodities sold by Mowbray’s. In the foreground of the image sits a man in a form of Chinese dress on a crate with a Chinese pagoda and a sailing ship visible behind him. To the left, a black man dressed only in a loincloth rolls a barrel or ‘hogshead’ of the kind used to transport colonial goods such as unprocessed sugar and tobacco along a beach. The scene is fringed with palm trees.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraving, ink on paper
Brief Description
Trade card for Mowbray & Son, a 'genuine tea dealers and grocers'. London, ca.1830
Physical Description
Trade card for Mowbray & Son, a 'Wholesale & retail genuine tea dealers and grocers' based on Newport High Street. Card emphasises the non-European origins of its goods by featuring a man in Chinese-style dress sitting on a crate amongst other crates and sugar loaves. To the left a black man in a loin cloth rolls a hogshead barrel along the beach. In the middle a ship is visible and to the right, behind the man, is a Chinese-style pagoda.
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.1cm
  • Width: 9.2cm
Dimensions taken from Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1967 . London: HMSO, 1968.
Marks and Inscriptions
'Mowbray & Son / WHOLESALE & RETAIL / GENUINE TEA DEALERS / and Grocers / HIGH STRT. NEWPORT / Imports of Irish Provisions, Spices, Fish Sauces & Pickles / Every description of Foreign Fruits. // Hoare & Reeves, &c. Warwick Court, Holbn
Credit line
Given by Mr. Aubrey J. Toppin, C.V.O.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Tea from China became available in England in the late 17th century. Initially, its cost and rarity made it a fashionable drink for the wealthy but over the course of the 18th century its increasing availability saw it enjoyed by the population at large. Chinese tea was always accompanied by sugar imported from Britain’s colonies in the West Indies where it was produced by enslaved African workers. Campaigns to end Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade included boycotts of West Indies-produced sugar.



This trade card was printed to publicise the services of Mowbray & Son, a ‘genuine tea dealers and grocers’ and importer of ‘spices, fish sauces and pickles’ which had an outlet on Newport High Street. Trade cards were a popular form of advertisement and the designer of this card has emphasised the exotic associations of the tropical commodities sold by Mowbray’s. In the foreground of the image sits a man in a form of Chinese dress on a crate with a Chinese pagoda and a sailing ship visible behind him. To the left, a black man dressed only in a loincloth rolls a barrel or ‘hogshead’ of the kind used to transport colonial goods such as unprocessed sugar and tobacco along a beach. The scene is fringed with palm trees.
Bibliographic Reference
Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1967 . London: HMSO, 1968.
Collection
Accession Number
E.331-1967

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record createdDecember 6, 2007
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