Modern Cups
     On the Run




Woman ta King Coffee / Die ihren Kaffee nehmende Dame, 1774 by Louis-Marin Bonnet. From Ulla Heise and Dr. Beatrix Freifrau von Wolff Metternich.Coffeum wirft die Jungfrau um: Kaffe und Erotik. (Leipzig: Gustav Kiepenheuer, 1998), 49.

Man and Child Drinking Tea, England, ca. 1725. From Rodris Roth,"Tea Drinking in Eighteenth Century America: Its Etiquette and Equipage," Material Life in Amercia, 1600-1860, editors, Robert Blair St. George, (Boston: Notheastern University Press, 1988), 447.

Jan Maurits Quinkhard, Een pringezinde familie, olieverf op doek, 1746 From Pim Reinders, Thera Wijsenbeek et al., Koffie in Nederland:Vier eeuwen Culturgeschiendenis, (Zutphen: Walberg Pers; Deft: Gemeente Musea Delft, 1994) 114.

The Art of Drinking

The manner of drinking coffee in the West has developed over the past 350 years since the introduction of coffee into European society. The way of holding the cup, saucer, or spoon was ritualized by the upper classes of the 17th and 18th Centuries who were more enamoured with the porcelain finery, since it offered opportunities of self display. (Schivelbusch,Tastes of Paradise, 19.)15 The pictorial evidence on the left demonstrates the variety of methods of holding a cup that were acceptable in the 18th Century.

These painting offer some observations on the prominence of the coffee (or tea) ritual in the home, which was deemed significant enough to be painted in formal portraiture. From this one can infer that the finery of the equipage was intended to convey the wealth and refinement of these families, as they emulated the latest coffeehouse fashions, including smoking out of long clay pipes. (See bottom left.)