Lady at the Tea Table was painted by American artist, Mary Cassatt in 1885. She was the only woman in the inner circle of the Impressionist movement.
Cassatt is best known for her paintings of women and children going about their everyday tasks.
t is not surprising, given the era and Cassatt’s interest in observing and capturing the day to day social and work life around her, that the ritual of tea and getting together with others would be reflected in her art.
As well as Lady at the Tea Table tea also features in Cassatt’s Five O’Clock Tea and Cup of Tea. The latter is also known as Portrait of Lydia.
The Story Behind The Japanese Tea Service
The Japanese porcelain tea service in the painting, (shown in close up below) was a gift to Mary. Mrs Moore’s other daughter, Annie had brought it from London.
Mrs Moore’s portrait was painted as a thank you for the elegant Japanese tea set. The fine quality of the blue and white tea service, with its gold trim, gives an indication of the social standing of the family.