My first vintage love: tea sets ‘a plenty’ Eleanor Hilton-Domm’s first vintage love was a vintage tea set. Falling head over heels for a few pieces of china sparked her life-long vintage craze. Here she tells us about her first love. Tea: aesthetically beautiful, refreshing in taste and ultimately a fabulous excuse for a catch-up; this enchanting beverage is undoubtedly loved by many across the world, not only for its taste but also the culture behind it. With so many varieties to choose from, depending on the country you are in, for me, the English Lady Grey is my liquid wisdom. Tea consumption is, and always has been, a daily ritual close to my heart; not forgetting a few simple rules: 1. It must always be served in a vintage teacup – one of many collected over the years. Not only are they beautiful but there’s just enough tea for one when it’s just me on my own. 2. A tea cosy (knitted by the Grandmother, naturally) is to be used at all times. The tea is kept warm and the Christmas gift is put to good use. 3. Finally, a sneaky cupcake goes nicely, though perhaps not daily. Tea is so widely associated with English culture today that the very beauty of its origin – ceremonial rituals, refined elegance and suitable etiquette – seems all but lost. However, the mere sight of a china tea set is all it takes to bring unconscious memories of a bygone age flooding back. I will never forget family trips to Rye tearooms (Simon the Pieman being the personal favourite) or my first tea set – officially reassigned to me at the age of 21- that firmly marked my vintage obsession. At 12, I remember asking to use a set I had admired for years, much to my Grandma’s concern, to serve tea. Why should they have the chance to use it and not me? Surely, back then, it didn’t just have to sit there and look pretty? A Delphine Bone China, Wild English Rose tea set – minus the teapot – to be precise. It’s pink, blue and green in colour with a gold trimming and still sits proudly amidst a sea of ridiculously unpractical floral china pieces on the kitchen dresser. Glorious vintage chintz: loved by all. It goes without saying that there are many Queens who have an equally nonsensical obsession with all things impractically floral. My love affair started with a pretty, old teacup desperately longing to be used for that Rose Petal tea break. What was your first vintage love? 2 Responses BarbaraRyan September 21st, 2009 I love vintage tea sets. I collect tea-for-one sets. I love thrift shopping. There’s something about the hunt and then finding a wonderful vintage piece. I collect vintage accessories whenever I can. Karen gibson September 25th, 2009 What a great idear for us to share our love for vintage… my love for old china and the war eara took me to the creation of my own 1940s tea room and vintage shop in Adelaide Ausralia with my collection from England were I grew up and the USA were I lived for 20 years, this is a place were ladies and gentlemen come to escape I play 30s and 40s Jazz from the miniut I walk in the door and the age group I have atracted range from 17 to 90 its a special place and a world I escape to each day. wish the world could pass through to enjoy and relax.