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Monday, 12 August 2013
Tea on the Estate Exhibition Opens at Liublino
Topic: Exhibitions

The former Durasov manor house at Liublino celebrates the traditional Russian tea  

The exhibition Tea on the Estate has opened at Liublino, the former suburban estate of the famous Moscow aristocrat, Nikolai Durasov, famous all over Moscow for his extraordinary warmth and hospitality.

Durasov's magnificent manor house-palace was built in 1801 by the architect I.V. Egotova. It was constructed on a palatial scale and designed exclusively for receptions and holiday amusements. 

This exhibition is a continuation of the retrospective exhibition of the project on various aspects of the culture and characteristics of suburban mansions of the epoch of its "Golden Age" - that is, late 18th to early 19th centuries. The first exhibition in the framework of the project  Gala Dinner at the Estate was held in 2012 in one of the rooms of the first floor of the Durasov Manor at Liublino.

The main objective of the exhibition Tea on the Estate, as well as the previous one, is to show the different aspects of aristocratic dining. However, the emphasis has now shifted to the daily table with that of the traditional Russian tea.

The exhibition features over 300 pieces, made of porcelain, earthenware, stoneware, and silver. It includes a variety of tea and coffee sets, starting with the Egoist service, intended for one person, and ending with the traditional tea and coffee set for 6 or more persons. Separately presented are tableware associated with the lost culture which include hot chocolate (very popular in Tsarist times), and tea table attributes such as tea caddies, different styles of sugar bowls, milk jugs, tea spoons, samovars and other tea and coffee accessories. In addition, the furnishings and decoration of the Durasov Manor interiors, where a the traditional tea service was held. Many of the exhibits are on display for the very first time.

The manor house of Nikolai Durasov at Liublino 

The appeal and novelty of the project lies in the fact that it was the first time a manor tea party becomes the object of a special exhibition with the assistance of authentic furnishings and appointments from the collections of three Moscow's museums: the Ostankino Museum-Estate, the State Museum of Ceramics at Kuskovo and the Moscow State Museum-Reserve.

A special section of the exhibition will feature the wide use of cakes, pastries and other desserts served at the tea table, based on recipes from old pre-Revolutionary cookbooks, created by the master confectioner, Aldis Brichevs.

The circular building exposure on the third floor of the N.A. Durasov manor house at Liublino corresponds to the daily life of the manor. Here, one sees on display a variety of stylistic stages of development of the culture of tea drinking on the estate through various historical interiors, where the tea service was held. These are represented by a variety of table settings, from intimate breakfast in the morning in the ladies' boudoir of the Classical period, afternoon tea in the office of the gentleman age of Empire and ending with the crowded evening tea with the family set against a background of genuine manor setting of the 1840s.

The exhibition shows the tea party as a reflection characteristic of estate culture since its zenith when it finally crystallized the basic rules of the secular behavior, pastime and etiquette, as well as the principles of the decoration of interiors of different use, which was arranged for a tea party for the day.

Tea was imported to Europe from China in the 16th century, and soon won the European market and has become one of the most popular beverages in the world. In Russia tea arrived even earlier than in other European countries, some researchers believe as early as 1567.

In the 17th century Russia, tea was not only the tsar's drink, it was served at the table of the rich boyars. However, up until the beginning of the 19th century tea in Russia was only available to members of the nobility, because at that time it was extremely expensive.

The exhibition features over 300 pieces of porcelain, earthenware, stoneware and silver 

Since the 18th century, all European countries have been conventionally divided into tea and coffee drinkers. After all, coffee appeared about a hundred years earlier, becoming the preferred beverage in France, Germany, Spain, Austria and Italy, while tea was the preferred beverage of the British, Dutch and Russian. In contrast to the tradition of drinking tea in some countries at a certain time of day, in Russia tea is enjoyed at any time and for any occasion.

Moscow was especially committed to the consumption of tea: "Muscovites drinking tea in the morning, at noon and be sure to 4:00 .... They drank it in the evening, they drank when having nothing to do and just so." Evening tea drinking was often accompanied by a reception. Tea was served at balls and in special "coffee houses." The family tradition of tea drinking existed in each and every noble family estate.

In the 18th century, tea was an expensive and fashionable pastime. The ceremony called for respective surroundings, its essential attributes were various tea tables and trays, not to mention special tea pots, which were originally copied from the designs of Chinese porcelain.

In the second half of the 18th century, tea drinking as a part of social life also gave rise to a system of tableware set of special items, which in Russia was the samovar, which consisted of a bouillotte - a small vessel for heating water, a variety of teapots, tea caddy for storing tea leaves. With the advent of porcelain in Europe - a new fashionable and extremely expensive material, it gradually began to replace silver - a traditional material in the production of tableware for privileged persons, at least in that part of the table setting, particularly when serving tea or coffee.

In the middle of the century, a gallant special kind of chamber tea and coffee set for breakfast for one or two people designed for intimate morning or afternoon tea or coffee. Along with well-defined functionality, these miniature ensembles often played the role of personal and expensive gifts and at the same time showed good taste of their respective owners. Similarly, as the form of tea utensils its decor dependent on the style change. General stylistic trends and features decor of different ages with the greatest force evident in the chamber sets, which can be attributed to the heights of porcelain production in Western Europe and Russia. Rare and precious porcelain crockery gave the process of tea especially refined atmosphere and a sophisticated mood.

The exhibition will run until December 29th, 2013. 

© Moscow State Art and Historical Reserve. 12 August, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:56 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 August 2013 12:45 PM EDT
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