Calling all tea lovers to a new exhibition at St Albans Museum + Gallery
A tantalising new exhibition, ‘Time for Tea’ opens on 19 May at St Albans Museum + Gallery, exploring the fascinating journey of tea from leaf to cup and the worldwide significance of this popular beverage. Following a preview for local supporters, councillors and dignitaries on Thursday 18 May, the free exhibition held in the Weston Gallery, will run until 05 November 2023 and includes complementary, immersive activities.
With 36 billion cups consumed a year in the UK, 3,000 varieties available and tea being the second most popular beverage only to water, it is firmly entrenched in British culture. Believed to be brought to Europe by Dutch traders in the 1600s, it was a favourite of Princess Catherine of Braganza, wife of King Charles II, who set the trend for drinking tea which continues to this day.
From a quick cuppa during the day to a luxurious afternoon tea, a cup of tea is a familiar moment in many peoples’ lives. Referred to in literature, popular culture, film and TV – including at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, served by penguins in Mary Poppins and a favourite of Downton’s Lady Violet Crawley - tea is a most-loved drink with a fascinating story.
Sarah Keeling, Curator- Post Medieval to Contemporary at St Albans Museums, says: “We are delighted to bring this wonderful exhibition to St Albans. Time for Tea celebrates the nation’s love affair with tea exploring its history, how it’s made, drunk and its significance across the world. Visitors can also enjoy a nostalgic look at the tea houses and cafés St Albans has been home to in the past.
“There will be engaging imagery, including ‘A Tea Party at Napsbury’ by artist Louis Wain, beautiful displays of ornate tea bowls and decorative teapots from our collection, and after a wander through the exhibition visitors can relax with a cuppa in the museum’s Courtroom Café.”