Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Five o'clock tea" by C. M. McIlhenny

I am always drawn to images of teatime, and I came across this print from 1888 on the Library of Congress website. One of the first things you'll probably notice is that there are no teacups in this print. When I enlarged the image to fill my 21-inch computer screen, however, it appears that maybe the lady standing at back (the hostess?) is presiding over a tea service.

At the front of the table, I notice what appears to be a pedestal bowl of fruit, and I also note that the ladies seem to have shallow bowls as well as plates. The lush greenery hanging overhead makes me think this is a warm weather scene, so perhaps that's why some of the ladies have fans.

And while I love to admire those pretty dresses with all that lushly draping fabric, I cannot imagine enjoying any sort of teatime wearing that garb! The dog (I don't know dog breeds, sorry) seems to be resting politely, and I wonder if that dog really was that well-behaved or whether this was a fantasy picture. Oh, and the last thing I noticed was that the tablecloth appears to have either a ruffle or fringe, I can't quite tell which. It's fun to find things like this on the Library of Congress website, images I almost certainly would never have seen if they weren't online!


  1. Yes, it looks like a summertime scene, and I'm very thankful not to have to wear dresses like that in the Georgia summers! It is fun to see these glimpses of the past, though.

  2. Yes, those old scenes are fascinating, aren't they? Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century but to be honest, on a really hot day, it is a blessing not to have to wear all those crinolines and yards of fabric. Thanks for a peek into the past.

    Autumn blessings,

  3. Fascinating! Tea bowls maybe? Original teacups didn't always have handles.

  4. Lovely picture. I love having tea time with friends. That's fascinating!

  5. Interesting. I imagine it was hot with all those layers.

  6. Love that Angela! I admire the clothing, but prefer our "liberty" fashions as they were dubbed in the Edwardian era...yes indeed! No stays for me!

  7. I keep thinking I'm going to make my way over to the Library of Congress website so I can enjoy all the photos you find... but as yet I haven't made it. One of these days I will.


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