Embroidered Chair Back
Artist/maker unknown, English
Tea, introduced in Britain from China in the mid-seventeenth century, had become the drink of choice over coffee and chocolate by the eighteenth century. Tea drinking connoted both social cachet and economic affluence, since tea was expensive to buy and required special equipment. Handleless tea bowls and small tea tables, shown in the center of this chair back, would have been among the paraphernalia used. Thus, the chair back’s design may not only have spoken to its owner’s penchant for tea drinking but also to his or her elevated social and economic status.