Have you time for afternoon tea?

afternoon tea

The habit of drinking tea dates back thousands of years but didn’t become popular in England until the 1660s. However, it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ first appeared.

Anna Duchess of Bedford
image credit: [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
In 1840 afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.

The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner.

The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.

This pause for tea caught on and became a fashionable social event for those with the leisure to enjoy it.

As Henry James said, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

These paintings capture the mood for afternoon tea perfectly.

Afternoon Tea by John Everett Millais 1889

afternoon tea
image credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Afternoon Tea by Richard Edward Miller 1910

afternoon tea
image credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Le Thé à l’anglaise by Michel-Barthelemy Ollivier 1766

afternoon tea
image credit: [Public domain or CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

Afternoon Tea by Isidore Verheyden 1905

afternoon tea
image credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Afternoon Tea by Hilda Fearon 1917

afternoon tea
image credit: [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks for visiting my blog today and hope you have time for afternoon tea.

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