Ladies who take tea

Taking tea in the 18th century was a refined business of elegance and display. The Wallace Collection has an exhibition featuring intimate pictures by some of the greatest painters of the time

François Boucher: A Lady on her Daybed
François Boucher: A Lady on her Daybed

In the 18th century, well-off women luxuriated in drinking tea in their beautiful homes, sipping dainty cupfuls out of lovely porcelain.

Taking tea was a refined business of elegance and display, as well as pleasure. It became a popular genre subject with great painters of the time such as François Boucher and Jean-Siméon Chardin.

The Wallace Collection has brought some of these intimate pictures from New York and Scotland, such as Chardin’s Lady taking Tea and Boucher’s A Lady on her Daybed, together with their own 18th century pieces.

The snapshots they give of women relaxing at home exude charm and a completely different pace of life.

Boucher & Chardin: Masters of Modern Manners runs until 7 September at The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1 www.wallacecollection.org. Admission is free.


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