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: Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate?


Christopher Monkhouse



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
As a byproduct of the sixteenth century Age of Exploration, hot beverages from the four corners of the world began to enliven the tastebuds and enrich the tabletops of Europeans in the seventeenth century. They began to drink coffee from Arabia, tea from China, and cocoa from South America. In order to accommodate these liquid delights in England, on the Continent, and in the increasingly far-flung colonies, a transformation occurred in etiquette, as well as equipage.Items created over four centuries by silversmiths and ceramists in response to the continuing popularity of these beverages make up the special exhibition in this year's edition of "Holiday Traditions." And while the Bell Family Decorative Arts Court once again forms the centerpiece of this annual event, visitors should not overlook examples on view throughout the third-floor galleries.The oldest example in this special holiday exhibition is also one of the most recent pieces to enter the collection of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts: a silver chocolate pot made in 1686 by George Garthorne of London. The newest is a stoneware teapot that came off the wheel of local ceramist Warren MacKenzie just last year.More than two dozen other vessels or entire services, created between 1686 and 1998 for serving coffee, tea, and chocolate, will be on view. Highlights include such major names in metalsmithing as Paul Revere and Jean Puiforcat. From the world of ceramics, see examples by Wedgwood and Worcester. The recent gift of the Norwest Collection and loans from private collections mean the twentieth century has a firm place at the table, too."Holiday Traditions" this year will be a truly glittering occasion very much in the spirit of the season. Visitors will participate-at least visually-in the last great tea party of the millennium.Christopher Monkhouse is the James Ford Bell Curator in the Department of Decorative Arts, Sculpture, and Architecture at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.Holiday Traditions
November 26, 1999 to January 2, 2000Related ImagesGorham Manufacturing Company (1865-1967)
Coffee Pot and Tray, 1891
Gift of the Decorative Arts CouncilGorham Manufacturing Company (1865-1967)
Coffee and Tea Service, 1920
Silver, ivory
Lent by James Tigerman/Big Plan CompanyJean Puiforcat (1897-1945)
Coffee and Tea Service, 1925
Silver and optical glass
Decorative Arts Department Deaccession
Funds, the Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, and gift of the Decorative Arts CouncilGeorge Garthorne (1680-1730)
Chocolate Pot, 1686
Silver, wood
Gift of the James Ford Bell FoundationKarl Gustav Hansen, designer (born 1914)
Hans Hansen Silversmith, manufacturer
Teapot, 1955
Silver, wicker
Gift of the James Ford Bell Foundation
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Source: Christopher Monkhouse, "Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate?: The Institute celebrates silver and ceramics in the service of the holiday season," <i>Arts</i> 22, no. 10 (December 1999): 18-19.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009