A special little Victorian cup for tea cup Tuesday

July 23, 2013

Hello my tea cup friends.

I’ve got a special little treat for you today. I found this lovely little Victorian tea cup in a tiny antique store in the bucolic Cotswold town of Burford.

131 copy

It’s hand painted with very quirky little brush strokes and only has a number, 7003, painted on the bottom of the cup but nothing else to indicate any maker. It’s a little pockmarked with time but charming, don’t you think?

132 copy

I also wanted to show you this little thing. I wondered and wondered about it, because it looks like a tea pot without the spout, and it revealed itself to be a biscuit tin!

136 copy

I think it’s later than Victorian, probably Art Deco-ish, but look at the lovely hand painted scenes on it. πŸ™‚

cookie jar

And now I want to tell you what I found out about this little cup. Do you see how deep the saucer is?

135 copy

That’s on purpose.

When you poured a very hot cup of tea to a Victorian lady…

142 copy

It was perfectly socially polite for the fine lady to pour the contents of her cup into her cooler saucer and drink it from there!

143 copy

And the saucer holds the complete cup worth of hot tea.

144 copy

And here are a couple of images of “The Merchant’s Wife” two paintings by the Victorian Russian artist Boris Kusodiev of ladies sipping their tea from the saucer.

Kustodiev paintings

Who knew! πŸ™‚

Linking very quickly with Teri and Martha and Sandi and Bernideen with a wholehearted promise that I shall visit everyone tomorrow because tonight we have severe thunderstorms and I must get off my computer. (By the way, tomorrow English time is still Tuesday North American time πŸ™‚ )

Enamelling a necklace! Would you like to learn how? I did, it's not that hard.
Weekend camping at Shakespeare County Raceway

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  • Reply sorrygnat July 23, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Enchanting cup; my first thought – What memories and whose hands held this teacup?

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:31 am

      Oh so true Esther! πŸ™‚ Maybe we an make up some stories starting with the child labour which probably produced this cup.

  • Reply Bernideen's Tea Time Blog July 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Lovely finds – the scene on the biscuit tin looks dutch. How fun and so glad you shared at Tea InThe Garden!

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:31 am

      It does to me too Bernideen. πŸ™‚ Thank you for hosting again this week. πŸ™‚ Storms are over so I’m on my way to see you. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sandi July 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Hi Veronica,
    How nice of you to join us from merry old England! Your teacup is darling and I love the deeper saucer. Teacups have such fascinating histories, don’t they? The biscuit jar is a wonderful find and I like the shape of it. How fun to bring these treasures home with you and put them to use. Thank you for coming to tea and take care in the thunderstorm!


    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:33 am

      Hi Sandi. I was really thrilled to find this out about the little tea cup and then to find some art to support that theory. Everything’s just fine here and I’m on my way to see you now. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Terri July 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Hello Veronica,
    Your newest tea cup is a wonderful find! It is defiantly older. And yes, one would drink out of that deep a saucer. I have never tried, as I find it hard not to slosh tea even in a cup. lol! I can’t imagine not spilling a saucer of tea! The biscuit tin is wonderful too. All that gorgeous scenery painted on there. Wow! You are having fun! I am loving seeing Kusodiev’s paintings. How vibrant in color! Thank you so much for including artwork in your tea post, it is an enriching experience to see her holding her saucer full of tea.

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:34 am

      Hi Terri. I love imagining how many hands held that cup and saucer. You know, I think I’d like to paint a little painting from that biscuit tin. Wouldn’t that be lovely? In a little naive style perhaps. πŸ™‚

  • Reply vastlycurious.com July 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Love the pomp and ceremony.! I have a covered silver tea spoon with a little hinge for stirring. I bequeath it to you , the only tea drinker I know. : )

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:36 am

      Holy smokes Kathryn! That’s so lovely of you. Thank you. Yes, I’m a bit tedious about the coffee and pop and other heavily caffeinated things. They make me crazy. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sophie July 23, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    elle est ravissante cette tasse ! une très jolie forme !
    merci pour ce renseignement que j’ignorais sue le fait de bonne Γ  la soucoupe!
    belle journΓ©e

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:40 am

      I didn’t know either Sophie. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

  • Reply Lavender Cottage July 24, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Hello Veronica
    I’m on vacation and a break from blogging but am still reading posts. I can’t image drinking from the saucer, especially at my age now of shaky hands. πŸ™‚
    Have a wonderful holiday.

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:38 am

      I’m the same Judith. It’s hard enough not spilling the tea into the saucer by accident..lol. πŸ™‚ Hope you’re having a lovely vacation. I’m not on holiday so much because I have to work here as well as in Vancouver. I just change countries for a few months at a time. πŸ™‚ (But it’s true that the castles are a bit closer…lol)

  • Reply michellepond July 24, 2013 at 4:17 am

    What a lovely post. Beautiful additions to your collection. I love the information about the Victorian ladies sipping from their saucers.

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 4:38 am

      Isn’t it wild Michelle? I loved finding that out. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sara V July 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    That is SO COOL!! And both pieces are absolutely beautiful–love porcelain artwork πŸ™‚

    • Reply Veronica July 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Me too Sara. πŸ™‚ I started sketching the saucers but it’s taking too much discipline and so might give it up. πŸ™

  • Reply Sara v July 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Ah yes, the sketching china has that whole architectural element in it, which is why I stick with nature, not so demanding–however, you could create an embossing print from some of those beautiful little brush stroke leaves….;-)

    • Reply Veronica July 26, 2013 at 8:13 am

      I know Sara, me too. Flowers are just so much simpler. πŸ™‚ And, you’ve got a really great idea there. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Doing my patriotic duty for Britain | December 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

    […] And this afternoon I made myself a cup of Earl Grey in the second of my very old Victorian tea cups. (the first one is here) […]

  • Reply seth wolitz February 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    you should look at Boris Kustodiev’s paintings of merchant class women drinking tea from a saucer. Very Russian of that era. My grandmother from the Jewish shtetl even in Brooklyn taught my sister–who ruined her teeth–to drink tea from a saucer–to cool it from the hot cup–and letting it pass through a chunk of sugar held between her incisors. Typical. Now that tradition is all gone. Women drank tea from cups and saucers, men from glass set in a metal holder with a spoon nearby to take a spoonful of raspberry jam into the mouth and sip some tea and sweeten it as it went down the gullet. This cup of yours is much closer to the cups of old Russia!

    • Reply Veronica February 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks for that info Seth. πŸ˜€ I know of Boris Kustodiev and have linked to him in past posts, but I didn’t know about the sugar cube trick. And, since I grew up in the Czech Republic, that’s a great thing to know about. I knwo my grandmother sometimes liked to put her homemade raspberry jam in her tea instead of sugar. I do have a few old Russian tea cups as well as some contemporary, made in the USSR cups. I’ll have to use them soon. πŸ™‚

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