The custom was introduced in the nineteenth century by the seventh Duchess of Bedford. It was in 1606 that the first tea chests were listed at the port of Amsterdam. At that time, Holland had a tight hold on the trade of rare products from Asia which was challenged by the English, who founded just a few years later the East India Company, a direct competitor of the Netherlands tea industry.

blog The shipyard of the Dutch East India Company in Amsterdam, 1726 Engraving by Joseph Mulder
Image via Wikipedia

The arrival of tea in England brought with it the success of the coffee-house and today, the humble cup of tea is a staple in British society.

The tea making ritual has not changed much over the centuries: milk, sugar and sometimes lemon are added to suit the individual tastes of the drinker.

(c) Shipley Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation Jean Carolus, Afternoon Tea, 1879
Image via BBC/Shipley Art Gallery

The Five o'clock Tea paved the way for the production of many objects and utensils. The tea balls, tea cosies, tea caddies, tea strainers, sugar bowls, creamers, cups, teapots are all used to enhance the tea, both in its brewing and in the final product.

Fancy a cup of tea? Barnebys has prepared a selection of the finest services and accessories. How many sugars?

Click on the item to check it out.

blog (11) Tea caddy converted into a lamp

blog (10) Tea caddy, George III pear shaped

blog (9) Group of 3 Staffordshire Blue & White Tea Bowls
& Saucers, English, Early 19th C.

blog (8) CALDWELL & Co. Philadelphia - A mixed metal tea caddy
Lyon & Turnbull

blog (7) A large silver tea service and tray, Walker and Hall, Sheffield 1922
Lyon & Turnbull

blog (6) Tortoiseshell tea box

blog (5) Antique Copeland Spode Jasperware Tea Set, L 19th
C. & Wedgwood Jasperware

blog (4) An extensive brass plated white metal and cane tea set by WMF

blog (3) Imari Teapot
Japanese Gallery