TWO FOR TEA: Virtual Exhibit

Victorians loved their tea! The tradition of teatime was a mainstay of life at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie and Wilderstein in Rhinebeck, TWO of the most highly regarded Victorian estates in the Hudson Valley. There are more than 50 teapots in the Locust Grove collection alone, and you'll find some of our favorites below. For more examples from the Wilderstein collection, click here.

Porcelain teapot, made in China for export to England, 1775-1825. Chinese manufacturers often copied shapes from English silver teapots to make their pieces (like this one) more appealing to the English and American markets. By the 1890s when this teapot was purchased by Martha Young, it would have been valued as an antique and displayed behind glass, not to be used. Collection of Locust Grove, Bequest of Annette Innis Young.

Porcelain teapot, made in Paris and retailed by the Marc Schoelcher Company, 1810-1825. With heavy gilt decoration in the Empire style, this teapot (and its 18 matching cups and saucers) shows the influence of Napoleon I’s imperial ambitions on Parisian style in the early 1800s. This service was probably originally intended for use in France, then exported to the United States later in the 1800s as American demand for porcelain far outstripped the manufacturing capacity of factories in North America. Collection of Locust Grove, Bequest of Annette Innis Young.

Porcelain teapot, Sevres Porcelain Manufactory (Paris), 1855/1856. The Youngs loved anything with a royal connection and this teapot, part of tea and dinner service for twelve, was in regular use at Locust Grove. The “N” monogram stands for Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and the last Emperor of France. Collection of Locust Grove, Bequest of Annette Innis Young.

Glazed stoneware teapot. England, 1805-1815. While not as elegant as porcelain, stoneware was far more durable and much easier to produce with the clays available in England. The unusual inclusion of feldspar in the glaze is typical of the Castleford manufactory in Yorkshire and gives this piece a sheen closer to fine porcelain (though the blue highlights seem a little awkward today). Collection of Locust Grove, Bequest of Annette Innis Young.

Silver teapot. Marked “Ball, Tompkins & Black”. New York, 1840-1850. Silver tea services had the advantage of not chipping like porcelain, but they did have to be polished regularly – an onerous task usually carried out by the servants at Locust Grove. This teapot is monogrammed “HB” for Hylah Bevier Hasbrouck, who lived at Locust Lawn in Gardiner, NY from her marriage in 1821 until her death in 1874. Her great-granddaughter, Annette Young, inherited much of her silver and porcelain, and preferred to use those heirlooms instead of purchasing new pieces. Annette also turned both Locust Lawn and Locust Grove into museums to preserve them, together with their collections, for the benefit of the public. Collection of Locust Grove, Bequest of Annette Innis Young.

Transfer decorated earthernware teapot. England, 1825-1850. To make a transfer print an artist first engraves the design to be used on a copper plate. Then special ink is applied to the plate where it fills the engraved grooves, and is then pressed onto tissue paper. The paper, now soaked in ink over the pattern, is placed on the piece of ceramic and fired. The paper burns away leaving the colored pattern fixed on the surface. Transfer decorating made it possible to decorate ceramics more quickly and cheaply than painting by hand, and English producers began to manufacture huge quantities of ceramics for both domestic use and especially export to the United States. Martha Young collected more than 50 transfer decorated teapots, and displayed them throughout Locust Grove. Collection of Locust Grove, Bequest of Annette Innis Young.