“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Henry James
If our great English nation could be summed up in one question, one simple, unremarkable inquiry, it would be this: “cup of tea?” It is the foundation of our society, the crux of our civility and the epitome of British identity. It crosses thresholds between employer and employee, barriers between friends and enemies and the boundaries of many a neighbourhood fence.
It’s also a particularly safe question to ask, since there are certain queries that all Englishmen and women share a common answer to. For example: “how are you?” is answered, without exception, by, “fine thank you and you?” It is nothing short of unforgivable to answer with an accurate account of the state of your health. Similarly, “cup of tea?” is always answered with, “yes” followed by your sugar and dairy requirements. It is not quite as frowned upon to give another answer; however, you will instantly be regarded with suspicion should you do so. We delved into the history of this warm, comforting and very English concoction, for which we offer only the best utensils to drink it with.
If plain mugs aren’t your cup of tea, this patterned stoneware quartet is perfect for you. In fact, we can imagine this stylish set being up most people’s alley.
The United Kingdom has been drinking tea by the ton since the seventeenth century, 1.9kg per person annually, in fact. The custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China, where it is likely to have originated in the Yunnan region during the Shang dynasty as a medicinal drink. It was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in Lebanon, after which it was made fashionable in Europe by King Charles II and his wife, the Portuguese Infanta, Catherine de Braganza.
Adapted from ancient Persian designs and painted by hand, our Isphahan range of porcelain has everything you could need to make the perfect brew, including a milk jug, set of mugs and a sugar bowl.
The British introduced tea production, as well as tea consumption, in India, in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea. Since then, this little drink has had a big impact on the social, political and economic landscape of the UK. Tea not only defined respectability and custom, it also contributed to the dominance of the British empire, shaping the country as we know it today.
These charming mugs are perfectly sized for an after-dinner hot drink. A round of tea served in these will make a delightful end to your feast.
As you can see, we’ve put a great deal of thought into the design of our teacups and mugs. We believe that with such a long and colourful history, one should strive to make every cup of tea with the dignity and respect it deserves.