Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Plans
Title: [Message to Marsha re broken china cup]
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 Material Information
Title: Message to Marsha re broken china cup
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: De Mesa Plans
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Bell
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
43 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
de Mesa-Sanchez House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 43 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.896429 x -81.313225
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091264
Volume ID: VID00036
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B7-L6

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Fig. 9. Part of a child's tea set of Chinese export porcelain,
or "painted China," China, ca. 1790. The painted decoration
is of pink roses and rose buds with green leaves; the border
is orange, with blue flowers. At one time this set probably Fig. 10. Hand-painted creamware teacup, Staffordshire, ca.
included containers for cream or milk and sugar, as did the 1780-1800. This teacup was excavated at the site of a prob-
adult "tea table setts complete" advertised in period news- able eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century china shop in
papers. (Photograph courtesy of the National Museum of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Decoration consists of a
American History, Smithsonian Institution.) brown band above a vine border with green leaves and blue
berries over orange bellflowers. The spiral fluting on the
body and the slight scalloping on the edge of this cup are
almost identical with that on the cup held by Mrs. Calmes
and white, enamell'd and scallop'd [fig. 101, tea-cups in figure 12. (Photograph courtesy of the National Museum
and saucers."47 These adjectives used by eighteenth- of American History, Smithsonian Institution.)
century salesmen usually referred to the types and
the colors of the decorations that were painted on the
pieces. "Enameled" most likely meant that the deco-
rations were painted over the glaze, and "penciled"
may have implied motifs painted with a fine black
line of pencil-like appearance, while "gilt," "red and
white," and "blue and white" were the colors and
types of the decoration. Blue and white china was,
perhaps, the most popular type of teaware; it regu-
larly appears in newspaper advertisements and inven-
tories and among sherds from colonial sites.
Concerning tea, Abbe Robin went so far as to say
in 1781 that "there is not a single person to be found,
who does not drink it out of china cups and sau-
cers."48 However exaggerated the statement may be,
it does reflect the popularity and availability of Chi-

Tea-Drinking in 18th-Century America


Fig. 11. The Old Maid, English cartoon, 1777. Although the
Englishwoman apparently is defying established tea eti-
quette by drinking from a saucer and allowing the cat on
the table (it, too, drinks from a saucer), her tea furnishings
appear to be in proper order. The teapot is on a dish, and the
teakettle is on its own special stand, a smaller version of
the tripod tea table. (Photograph courtesy of Prints and Pho-
tographs Division, Library of Congress.)

dicates that handling a cup with the spoon in it could
be accomplished with a certain amount of grace. Tea-
spoons also were placed in a pile on the table or in a
silver "Boat for Tea Spoons," or more often in such
ceramic containers as "Delph Ware ... Spoon Trays,"
or blue-and-white or penciled china "spoon boats.""2
Tongs were especially suited for lifting the lumps
of sugar from their container to the teacup. During
the eighteenth century both arched and scissor-type
tongs were used. Instead of points, the latter had
dainty flat grips for holding a lump of sugar (fig. 13).
The early arched tongs were round in section, as are
the pair illustrated in Man and Child Drinking Tea
(see fig. 5), while tongs made by arching or bending
double a flat strip of silver (fig. 14) date from the sec-
ond half of the eighteenth century. These articles of

Tea-Drinking in 18th-Century America

^F -K-W:~ *

Fig. 12. G. Frymeier, Mrs. Calmes, America, 1806. The cup
and saucer (or bowl), possibly hand-decorated Staffordshire
ware or Chinese export porcelain, are decorated with dark
blue bands and dots, wavy brown bands, and a pink rose
with green foliage. (Photograph courtesy of the Chicago
Historical Society, Calmes-Wight-Johnson Collection.)

tea equipage, variously known as "tongs," "tea
tongs," "spring tea tongs," and "sugar tongs," were
usually made of silver, though "ivory and wooden
tea-tongs" were advertised in 1763.53 According to
the prints and paintings of the period, tongs were
placed in or near the sugar container. Teaspoons were
also used for sugar, as illustrated in the painting Su-
sanna Truax (see fig. 2). Perhaps young Miss Truax is
about to indulge in a custom favored by the Dutch
population of Albany as reported by Peter Kalm in
1749: "They never put sugar into the cup, but take a
small bit of it into their mouths while they drink."54
Shallow dishes, such as the one seen in the portrait
Susanna Truax, and hemispherical bowls were used
as containers for sugar. Often called "sugar dishes" or
just "sugars," they were available in delftware, glass
(fig. 15), and silver, as well as in blue-and-white,
burnt, enameled, and penciled china. Some contain-


Fig. 8. John McMullin, silver tea set consisting of teapot,
sugar bowl, container for cream or milk, and waste bowl,
Philadelphia, ca. 1800. The matching coffee and hot-water
pot at the left were made at about the same time by Samuel
Williamson, also of Philadelphia. The letter "G," in fashion-
able script, is engraved on each piece of the set. (Photograph
courtesy of the National Museum of American History,
Smithsonian Institution.)

such as the one seen in Family Group (see fig. 1), in-
cluded cups and saucers as well.
While the tea set illustrated in Family Group ap-
pears to have all the basic pieces, it can hardly be
considered a "complete" tea set when compared with
the following porcelain sets listed in the 1747 estate
inventory of James Pemberton of Boston:
One sett Burnt [china] Cont[aining] 12 Cups
& Saucers Slop Bowl Tea Pot Milk Pot
boat [for spoons] tea Cannister Sugar Dish [120
5 Handle Cups plate for the TeaPot & a
wh(i]t[e] Tea Pot Value

One set Blue & white do. contg. 12 Cups &
saucers Slop Bowl 2 plates Sugr. Dish
Tea Pot 6 Handle Cups & white tea Pot

} tl0

In addition, the Pemberton inventory lists a silver tea

pot and "1 pr. Tea Tongs & Strainer," items that were
undoubtedly used with the ceramic sets.44
Tea sets were even available for the youngest host-
ess, and the "several compleat Tea-table Sets of Chil-
dren's cream-colored [ceramic] Toys" mentioned in a
Boston advertisement of 1771 no doubt added a note
of luxury to make-believe tea parties during play-
time.45 The pieces in children's tea sets, such as the
ones pictured from a child's set of Chinese export
porcelain (fig. 9), were usually like those of regular
sets and differed only in size. Little Peggy Livingston
of Philadelphia must have been happy indeed, when
her uncle wrote that he had sent "a compleat tea-
apparatus for her Baby [doll]. Her Doll may now in-
vite her Cousins Doll to tea. & parade her teatable in
form. This must be no small gratification to her. It
would be fortunate if happiness were always attain-
able with equal ease."46
The pieces of tea equipage could be purchased indi-
vidually. For instance, teacups and saucers, which are
differentiated in advertisements from both coffee and
chocolate cups, regularly appear in lists of ceramic
wares offered for sale, such as "very handsome Setts
of blue and white China Tea-Cups and Saucers," or
"enamell'd, pencill'd and gilt, red and white, blue

PART FIVE Ritual Space

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