Tony, the tutor of the travel sketching classes I attend, sent out a page of suggestions for daily sketches to keep us busy, as we cannot attend classes right now. I took a week to produce my first sketch; the figs I posted about last time. The tea cup, which was actually first on his list, I was keen to do next. I love nice china, and think a cup of tea tastes so much better sipped from such a cup. I seldom use tea bags as I prefer the flavour of leaf tea. Combine the two, add a friend to share the pot, and the experience of sipping a cup of tea is even better. Add a piece of homemade shortbread and – perfection.
This delicate cup came from a wonderful antique shop which was a short drive from where I used to live. The shop would once have been surrounded by native bush and fields, except the thrust of urban development and a new motorway close by made this store a wee jewel in an ugly crown. I loved pulling up on the gravel drive, and walking up the wooden steps entering the room, which had alcoves and shelves crammed with treasures from a time my grandparents would have known. In one alcove were teacup sets, complete with small plates. I bought one set that first visit, and then my husband surprised me with a gift of the blue and white Royal Albert cup I’ve sketched above. I have six cups, saucers and plates of this vintage, and love using every one. They are slightly different in size, although all are equally delicate, with lovely hand-painted designs on each.
I would love to visit the shop still, if the owner hadn’t been forced to shut its doors. I would like to thank him for the enjoyment he gave others in filling his shop with beautiful objects from a by-gone age, and especially the very fine china.