The Bowes Museum is hosting a series of fascinating talks on the subject of tea drinking, to accompany the current exhibition Feast Your Eyes: The Fashion of Food in Art.
On Wednesday 14 November, Peter Brown will consider the fashionable new pastime of tea, coffee and chocolate drinking in the 18th Century. As Director of Fairfax House in York for over 20 years, he staged exhibitions on upper class social and domestic life during that period in history. One of the most memorable was In Praise of Hot Liquors, which confirmed him as one of the country’s leading authorities on the culture and rituals of the 18th Century. The talk will be accompanied by material from original sources delivered in a witty and elegant style.
The second talk, on Sunday 2nd December, offers an opportunity to take tea in the pleasant surroundings of the Museum’s Jubilee Room with Dr Annie Gray, who will transport you back to the elegance of the 18th Century bedecked in the full costume of the period, as she reflects on the early history of tea as an unusual new luxury, to its becoming a symbol of English character and taste.
Hear how tea has been used to fight the feminist cause, civilise brutal men and discipline the poor! Sample period cakes as you sup from the cup that cheers but does not inebriate.
Both talks will, in their different ways, offer an interesting insight into the new social rituals which arose from the introduction of these fashionable hot drinks in the 17th and 18th Centuries. They will explain the elaborate ways in which they were prepared and served and why tea was associated with the lady of the house, while coffee-drinking was essentially a masculine pastime. Discover also what Jonathan Swift was alluding to in his satirical verse from The Journal of a Modern Lady of 1728:
All mad to speak and none to harken,
They set the very lapdog barking,
Their chattering makes a louder din,
Than fishwives o’er a cup of gin.
Booking is required for each event by calling 01833 690606 or emailing email@example.com. Peter Brown’s talk costs £6.00 while Dr Annie Gray’s talk and tasting is £12.00.
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