Taking Tea with Aunt Egg

Taking Tea with Aunt Egg

Cavendish Mews is a smart set of flats in Mayfair where flapper and modern woman, the Honourable Lettice Chetwynd has set up home after coming of age and gaining her allowance. To supplement her already generous allowance, and to break away from dependence upon her family, Lettice has established herself as a society interior designer, so her flat is decorated with a mixture of elegant antique Georgian pieces and modern Art Deco furnishings, using it as a showroom for what she can offer to her well heeled clients.

Today however we have headed a short distance north-east across London, away from Cavendish Mews and Mayfair, over Paddington and past Lisson Grove to the comfortably affluent suburb of Little Venice with its cream painted Regency terraces and railing surrounded public parks. Here in Clifton Gardens Lettice’s maiden Aunt Eglantine, affectionately known as Aunt Egg by her nieces and nephews, lives in a beautiful four storey house that is part of a terrace of twelve. Eglantine Chetwynd is Viscount Wrexham’s younger sister, and as well as being unmarried, is an artist and ceramicist of some acclaim. Originally a member of the Pre-Raphaelites* in England, these days she flits through artistic and bohemian circles and when not at home in her spacious and light filled studio at the rear of her garden, can be found mixing with mostly younger artistic friends in Chelsea. Her unmarried status, outlandish choice of friends and rather reformist and unusual dress sense shocks Lettice’s mother, Lady Sadie, and attracts her derision. In addition, she draws Sadie’s ire, as Aunt Egg has always received far more affection and preferential treatment from her children. Viscount Wrexham on the other hand adores his artistic little sister, and has always made sure that she can live the lifestyle she chooses and create art.

Before going into luncheon, Lettice is taking tea with her favourite aunt in her wonderfully overcluttered drawing room, which unlike most other houses in the terrace where the drawing room is located in the front and overlooks the street, is nestled at the back of the house, overlooking the beautiful and slightly rambunctious rear garden and studio. It is just another example of Lettice’s aunt flouting the conventions women like Lady Sadie cling to. The room is overstuffed with an eclectic collection of bric-à-brac. Antique vases and ornamental plates jostle for space with pieces of Eglantyne’s own work and that of her artistic friends on whatnots and occasional tables, across the mantle and throughout several glass fronted china cabinets. Every surface is cluttered to over capacity. As Lettice picks up the fine blue and gilt cup of tea proffered by her aunt, she cannot help but feel sorry for Augusta, Eglantine’s Swiss head parlour maid and Clotilde, the second parlour maid, who must feel that their endless dusting is futile, for no sooner would they have finished a room than they would have to start again since dust would have settled where they began. In addition to being a fine ceramicist, Eglantyne is also an expert embroiderer, and her works appear on embroidered cushions, footstools and even a pole fire screen to Lettice’s left as she settles back into a rather ornate corner chair that Eglantyne always saves for guests.

“So, how did you find Gossington, Lettice?” Eglantine asks as she sips tea from her own gilt edged teacup.

When she was young, Eglantine had Titian red hair that fell in wavy tresses about her pale face, making her a popular muse amongst the Pre-Raphaelites she mixed with. With the passing years, her red hair has retreated almost entirely behind silver grey, save for the occasional streak of washed out reddish orange, yet she still wears it as she did when it was at its fiery best, sweeping softly about her almond shaped face, tied in a loose chignon at the back of her neck. Large blue glass droplets hang from her ears, glowing in the diffused light filtering through the lace curtains that frame the window overlooking the garden. The earrings match the sparkling blue bead necklace about her neck that cascades over the top of her usual uniform of a lose Delphos dress** that does not require her to wear a corset of any kind.

“Oh it was splendid, Aunt Egg.” Lettice enthuses from her seat. “The Caxtons really are a fascinating and rather eccentric pair.”

“Yes,” muses Eglantine with a smile. “That’s why I like them, and always have. I knew you would too.”

“I didn’t know you were acquainted with them, and certainly not well enough to obtain an invitation for me, and Margot and Dickie.”

“Well, I didn’t want your first visit to Gossington be one you entered into by yourself. Whilst I know you can hold you own socially, my dear, I sometimes feel the first visit to Gossington can be a bit daunting if you are on your own, especially with so many witty young writers and poets in Gladys’ circle. I’ve heard and witnessed her houseguests saying the wrong thing in front of a wit, and before you know it, they become the butt end of witticisms all weekend, which can become rather tiresome after the first evening if you are subject to them.”

“Well, luckily nothing like that happened on my visit to me, Margot or Dickie: in fact no-one really.”

“It must have been a more sedate weekend then.” Eglantyne remarks sagely. “No Cecil or Noël then, I take it?”

“Cecil?” Lettice queries, before thinking again. “Cecil, Beaton***? Noël Coward****?”

“Yes.” Eglantyne remarks nonchalantly as she tugs at the edges of her soft pink silk knitted cardigan’s tassel ties to loosen it around her waist. “I do love them both dearly, and they’re terribly fun and awfully clever, but their wit, Noël’s especially, can be quite cutting. Noël’s planning to put out a new show later this year after his success in America and here with ‘The Young Idea’*****. It’s called ‘The Maelstrom’ or ‘The Vortex’****** or some such thing. It’s about a relationship between a son and his vain and aging mother.” She rolls her eyes. “Which could be really rather tedious, with two actors quipping at one another over three acts, except he’s decided to make the mother character a promiscuous creature with an extramarital affair at the heart of the play, and throw in some drug abuse just for a bit of spice, which should make it a roaring success, and an entertaining evening at the theatre, or at least we all hope so.”

“No, they weren’t there.” Lettice admits. “I would have loved it if Noël Coward was though. Gerald would have been green with envy. He has a fascination with him.”

“Well, I’m hardly surprised by that.” Eglantyne replies, looking her niece squarely in the face, giving her a knowing look. “They have so much in common, as he does with Cecil.” She cocks an eyebrow and moved her head slightly.

“Aunt Egg!” Lettice gasps, raising her hand to her throat, where she clasps at the dainty string of pearls she wears as she feels a flush of embarrassment begin to work its way up her neck and to her cheeks.

“Surely you aren’t shocked, my dear?” Eglantyne says, before carefully placing her cup back on to the galleried silver tray on her petit point embroidered footstool, on which the teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl stand. “When you’ve moved in the artistic circles I have, you learn very quickly that love comes in many forms – not just between a man and woman.”

“I am shocked, Aunt Egg.” Lettice admits, smoothing the crepe skirt of the eau de nil frock she is wearing. “I’ve always told Gerald to be so careful.”

“Oh, come dear: a man running a frock shop! It may be all well and good in Paris, but not in London, my dear!”

“There’s Norman Hartnell*******.” Lettice counters.

“Exactly!” replies Eglantyne with a knowing nod. “Anyway, however discreet Gerald may be, I have it on very good authority from acquaintances of mine in Chelsea, that he has been seen at select gatherings of like-minded souls with a rather talented and handsome young West End clarinettist on his arm.”

“Who told you about Gerald and Cyril?”

“Never you mind, Lettice my dear. I’m not giving up two of my very best sources of delicious London society gossip to you, just so you can go and tell them to keep mum! I want to know all the ins and outs of what is going on, especially about people I know. I need my little indulgences, since I cannot be everywhere as I’d like to be, and I am no longer quite the topic of drawing room conversation any more as my star fades. Even my art is now seen as Fin de Siècle********, rather than à la mode********* by the newer generation of artists, in spite of my best efforts to try new things and keep ahead of the trends.” She sighs. “I fear it is a lost cause. We all of us will fall out of fashion one day.” She pauses and considers something for a moment. “Goodness! I’m starting to sound like the mother in Noël’s new play. If I didn’t know he’d based her on Grace Forster**********, I might assume he had done so on me!” She reaches out and grasps Lettice’s bare forearm near her elbow and squeezes it comfortingly. “Don’t worry, I won’t speak out-of-turn about our dear Gerald. I know he’s your best chum from childhood days, and I love him almost as much as you do. His secret is perfectly safe with me.”

“Well, I’m grateful for that.” Lettice sighs. “I do worry about Gerald. I have known about his inclinations for a long time now, and I’ve met Cyril several times, but Cyril is more flamboyant and open about who he is than Gerald is.”

“Don’t worry. The gossip stemmed from a perfectly safe source, and as I said, they have only been seen together as a couple at select parties where such inclinations are not uncommon.” Eglantyne releases a satisfied sigh, indicating the conclusion of that particular conversation. “Now, thinking about acquaintances, and going back to your original question about my acquaintance with the Caxtons: I’ve known Gladys for longer than I’ve known John. I knew her when she had published her first Madeline St John novel. What she writes is ghastly romantic drivel in my opinion, and I was horrified to find you reading her romance novels, Lettice.”

“I don’t read them any more, thanks to Margot, who has broadened my reading range considerably from Madeline St John romances.”

“Well thank goodness for Margot Channon!” Eglantine breathes a sigh of relief. “Jolly good show, Margot. I never thought of her as a great reader of anything outside the society and fashion pages of the newspapers.”

“Oh, she’s a great reader, Aunt Egg. But my maid likes to read Madeline St John novels. She was positively beside herself with excitement when she found out I was meeting her favourite authoress.

“Well, I don’t know if I approve any more of your maid reading such romances than I do you, but whatever I may or may not think of the good of Gladys’ novels, they obviously have a broad appeal. Anyway, after her moderate success with her initial books, she met John, and then she became a patron to the arts thanks to the Caxton brewery money. She even bought more than her fair share of some of my ceramic pieces. Simply because she could, and she could promote my work.”

“I know, Aunt Egg. She showed me.”

“Anyway, it was really just by a stroke of good fortune that you received your invitation at just the right time.”

“Not according to Lally, Aunt Egg. She was put out because it rather spoiled the plans she had for us whilst I was staying with her at Dorrington House, and I think she was a little hurt that she wasn’t included in the invitation to Gossington, but Margot and Dickie were.”

“That might explain why she was so short with me when I telephoned Buckinghamshire last week to ask after her wellbeing and that of the children in Charles’ absence. Well,” She sighs in an exasperated fashion. “I cannot extend the largess of someone else any more than I already did to wrangle you and the Channons an invitation.” Eglantyne takes another sip of her tea. “It actually came about because Glady telephoned me a few weeks before Christmas. She was vying for an introduction to you after reading the article about you in Country Life. As you now know, her niece Phoebe has come into property here in London, and Gladys felt Phoebe needed a push to redecorate and make the place more her own, rather than simply adding a layer to her parent’s designs.” She pauses again. “I take it you did accept Glady’s commission.”

“Gladys is a little hard to refuse, Aunt Egg.” Lettice admits, before taking another sip from her cup. “She would have worn me down at length if I had said no.”

“Oh yes, that’s Gladys!” Eglantyne chortles, making the faceted bugle beads tumbling down the front of her sea green Delphos gown jangle about, glinting prettily. “She wears everyone down eventually.”

“But as it was, she didn’t have to, and I said yes.”

“Good for you, Lettice. It will be healthy for you to be working and creative. It will take your mind off all this Selwyn Spencely business. I take it you haven’t heard from him?” When Lettice bites her lower lip and shakes her head, Eglantyne continues. “Pity. I always thought him more of a man and would stand up to his bullying mother. She always did ride roughshod in everything she did when she was younger.”

“I wouldn’t dare go against lady Zinnia’s wishes, Aunt Egg. She’s positively terrifying.”

“You do realise that this is potentially your new mother-in-law if all goes according to your wishes for you and Selwyn, Lettice?”

“Of course!” Lettice replies. Then she pauses and her face clouds over. “Mind you, I hadn’t really considered the concept any more than an abstracted and distant idea until you just mentioned it. That is a rather frightening thought, especially if she doesn’t particularly like me.”

“Zinnia doesn’t like most women, Lettice, especially ones whom she perceives as a threat to her, or her well laid plans. You are young and pretty, and far more fashionable than she is. You are intelligent and often challenge the world and your place in it, as you should. However, like me, Zinnia’s star is fading as she gets older. She won’t always wield this power she currently has over Selwyn, especially if he comes back from Durban in a year feeling the same as when he left. You told me that Zinnia had agreed that Selwyn could marry you if he felt inclined upon his return.”

Lettice nods in response to her aunt’s statement, which comes across as more of a question.

“And you still love him?”

“Aunt Egg!” Lettice gasps. “How can you even ask?”

“You are young, my dear. When I was your age, I was forever changing my mind about all sorts of things: what to do, where to go, what to wear.”

“Well, Selwyn isn’t a Sunday best hat, subject to the fickle of fashion, Aunt Egg.”

“Just so, my dear. So long as you are sure.”

“I am, Aunt Egg.” Lettice replies with a steeliness in her voice. “Most definitely.”

The two ladies fall into a companionable silence for a short while, momentarily distracted by their own private thoughts. Between them on the mantle, Eglantyne’s gilt Georgian carriage clock marks the passing of the minutes with gentle ticks that echo between the two women, the sound absorbed by all the soft furnishings and knick-knacks around the room.

“Aunt Egg?” Lettice ventures tentatively at length.

“Yes, my dear?”

“What did you mean by Gladys wearing everyone down?”

“Just that my dear. Gladys has always had the power to pester people into submission.” Eglantyne laughs. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, it’s a few things, really. To begin with it was something Sir John said.”


“Oh, not her husband, Sir John – Sir John Nettleford-Hughes.”

“Good heavens!” Eglantyne gasps. “Was he there? Nasty old lecher. I still can’t believe Sadie invited him to that matchmaking ball she held for you, when she knows as much about his reputation as a womaniser as I do.”

“He was there, Aunt Egg, and he was actually very nice to me throughout the weekend, and not the least predatorial.”

“Will wonders never cease? Does he have an ulterior motive?”

“Not that I’m aware of, Aunt Egg.”

“Well, just mind yourself around him, my dear Lettice. I’m no prude like your mother, but I do know that he isn’t a man with whom you can let down your guard. Always be on alert with him.”

“Yes, Aunt Egg.”

“Good girl. Of course, I should hardly be surprised that he was talking about Gladys. It’s no secret that when Gladys was still Gladys Chambers, she and Sir John Nettleford-Huges were an item. Then she met Sir John Caxton, and that ended the affair. You did know that, didn’t you Lettice?”

“Not before Sir John arrived late to dinner on our first evening at Gossington. But then Gladys told us a few stories about their time together over the course of the weekend.” Lettice blushes as she remembers the tale Lady Gladys told the company at dinner of Sir John eating fruit from the small of her back.

“Yes, I’m sure she did.” Eglantyne’s mouth narrows in distaste. “Her taste in men was always questionable prior to her meeting her husband. Anyway, what did Sir John Nettleford-Hughes have to say that would trouble you, my dear?”

“Well, he said Gladys usually wears people down to her way of thinking in the end.”

“And why does that concern you, Lettice? Are you worried that Gladys is going to insist on making changes Phoebe or you don’t like? I can assure you that she adores her niece. Phoebe is the daughter Gladys never planned to have, but also the child Gladys didn’t know could bring her so much joy and fulfilment in her life, as a parent.”

“I don’t doubt that, Aunt Egg, but it does seem to me that there is an ulterior motive to Gladys wanting Phoebe’s flat redecorated.”

“An ulterior motive, Lettice?”

“Yes.” Lettice sighs. “I think Gladys sees her dead brother and sister-in-law as some kind of threat to her happy life with Phoebe.”



“That’s a very grave allegation, my dear Lettice.” Eglantyne says with concern. “What proof do you have to support your suspicions.”

“Nothing solid, only circumstantial anecdotes.”

“Such as?”

“Well, when she talks about her deceased brother and sister-in-law in front of Phoebe, or even to Phoebe, she refers to them as ‘Reginald and Marjory’, not ‘your mother and father’ or ‘Phoebe’s parents’.”

Eglantyne pinches the inside of her right cheek between her teeth as she considers Lettice’s observation. “Well, it probably helps keep the waters from getting muddy. The Chambers died out in India when Phoebe was still very young. I would imagine that Gladys and John are more like parents to Phoebe than Reginald and Marjory were.”

“Yes, but nevertheless, they are her parents.” Lettice counters.

“That’s true. But Gladys referring to them as she naturally would by their first names is no reason to see her feeling threatened by their memory, Lettice.” Eglantyne cautions with a wagging finger from which clings a large amethyst ring which sparkles in the light of the drawing room.

“But this brings me back to my concerns about what Sir John Nettleford-Huges said, which culminates with what you said just a moment ago. If Pheobe really is the child that Gladys never had, nor knew she wanted, but that subsequent to her discovery of the joy of parenthood Gladys’ narrative with Pheobe is for her to look upon Gladys more as a mother than her own mother, then she would naturally want to put an emotional distance between Phobe and the memory of her own mother. I think she is deliberately trying to eradicate the memory of Reginald and Marjory from Pheobe’s mind.”

“I really do think you are overdramatising things, Lettice my dear.” Eglantyne insists. “Gladys loves Phoebe. Why on earth would she want to banish her precious memories of her parents, who were taken far too soon?”

“Because she sees them as a threat to the legitimacy of her rearing of Phoebe.”

“But how can two dead people threaten what Gladys and John did, stepping in to take care of Phoebe as their ward?”

“Nothing, but that doesn’t mean that Gladys doesn’t think it. People can be irrational, Aunt Egg.”

“The only person I am thinking may be a little irrational at present, I’m sorry to say, is you, my dear.”

“But Gladys doesn’t have anything nice to say about her brother or sister-in-law. She is very dismissive of their memory, and she is openly disparaging in her remarks about Marjory.”

“Well, it is true that Gladys always felt that Reginald could have married someone grander than Marjory, who was just a middle-class solicitor’s daughter from Swiss Cottage***********. But really, Lettice, how does this dislike of Reginald’s choice in wife manifest itself as a threat to Gladys?”

“Well, when I was taking to Phoebe about redecorating her parent’s Bloomsbury flat, she seemed quite uninspired by the idea. She seems perfectly happy to leave things as they are, whereas it is Gladys who seems intent on redecorating every part of the flat, and in so doing remove any memory of her brother and his wife. She is quite enthusiastic about it, as a matter-of-fact.”

“Look, Lettice,” Eglantyne says, leaning forward in her wing backed chair and looking her niece earnestly in the face. “You’ve met Phoebe now. You know how fey she is.”

“Yes, that’s an apt description of her, Aunt Egg. My thoughts were that she has a very other worldly way about her.”

“Exactly, Lettice. So, you also know that she isn’t like Gladys. She doesn’t express her opinions readily.”

“I’ll say. It was hard enough to squeeze a colour choice to redecorate the flat with out of her.”

“And that’s why Gladys came to me, asking for your services. She is concerned that Phoebe is so disinterested in anything beyond her studies in horticulture that she will never redecorate the flat. She thought that being closer to Phoebe’s age, you might be able to make some headway where she, being so much older, has failed.”

“But would it be so bad for Phoebe to leave things the way they are in Bloomsbury, if the arrangement in existence suits her?”

“If Sadie had given you a fully furnished flat, would you have left it decorated in the way she gave it to you, Lettice?”

“Of course not!” Lettice scoffs.


“But that’s because I am an interior designer, and I have my own independent ideas about what my home should look like.”

“Of course you do.” Eglantyne soothes. “So, think for a moment. Even with her backwards ways of thinking, has Sadie ever tried to stop you from redecorating your own flat at Cavendish Mews?”

“Well, no.” Lettice says. “But what does that have to do with Gladys and Phoebe?”

“Sadie wouldn’t stop you from having some independence and would allow you to express your own opinions in style at the very least. Perhaps Gladys is trying to instil the same streak of independence in Phoebe, which is obviously so sorely lacking in her.” She tuts. “Consider that, my dear, before you go accusing Gladys of wishing to wipe away the memory of her brother and sister-in-law. Now.” The older woman gets to her feet with a groan. “I must see what is happening with luncheon.” She groans again as she rubs the small of her back. “Augusta is very good, but like me, she has been slowing down a little bit as of late. We’re all getting older. Please excuse me, my dear.”

Lettice sits in her chair and contemplates what her aunt has said as she watches the woman love elegantly around china cabinets the sofa and occasional tables as she wends her way to the drawing room door. What Eglantine says is true, but at the same time, Lettice cannot help but feel that her own judgement of the situation is somehow more in line with the truth of the matter. Lady Gladys has agreed to arrange a time, when she is back in London promoting her latest romance novel, to take Lettice to view Phoebe’s Bloomsbury flat, and she wonders what that occasion will be like.

*The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (later known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner who formed a seven-member "Brotherhood" modelled in part on the Nazarene movement. The Brotherhood was only ever a loose association and their principles were shared by other artists of the time, including Ford Madox Brown, Arthur Hughes and Marie Spartali Stillman. Later followers of the principles of the Brotherhood included Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John William Waterhouse. The group sought a return to the abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian art. They rejected what they regarded as the mechanistic approach first adopted by Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo. The Brotherhood believed the classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art, hence the name "Pre-Raphaelite".

**The Delphos gown is a finely pleated silk dress first created in about 1907 by French designer Henriette Negrin and her husband, Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo. They produced the gowns until about 1950. It was inspired by, and named after, a classical Greek statue, the Charioteer of Delphi. It was championed by more artistic women who did not wish to conform to society’s constraints and wear a tightly fitting corset.

***Cecil Beaton was a British fashion, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter, and interior designer, as well as an Oscar winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre. Although he had relationships with women including actress Greta Garbo, he was a well-known homosexual.

****Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor, and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise". He too was a well-known homosexual, even though it was taboo in England for much of his life.

*****’The Young Idea’, subtitled ‘A comedy of youth in three acts’, is an early play by Noël Coward, written in 1921 and first produced the following year. After a pre-London provincial tour it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 60 performances from 1 February 1923, and is one of Noel Coward’s first commercial successes, albeit moderate. The play portrays the successful manoeuvring by two young adults to prise their father away from his unsympathetic second wife and reunite him with his first wife, their mother.

******’The Vortex’ is a play in three acts by the English writer and actor Noël Coward. The play depicts the sexual vanity of a rich, ageing beauty, her troubled relationship with her adult son, and drug abuse in British society circles after the First World War. The son’s cocaine habit is seen by many critics as a metaphor for homosexuality, then taboo in Britain. Despite, or because of, its scandalous content for the time, the play was Coward’s first great commercial success. The play premiered in November 1924 in London and played in three theatres until June 1925, followed by a British tour and a New York production in 1925 and 1926. It has enjoyed several revivals and a film adaptation.

*******Norman Hartnell was a leading British fashion designer, best known for his work for the ladies of the royal family. Hartnell gained the Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) in 1940, and Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II in 1957. Princess Beatrice also wore a dress designed for Queen Elizabeth II by Hartnell for her wedding in 2020. He worked unsuccessfully for two London designers, including Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon), whom he sued for damages when several of his drawings appeared unattributed in her weekly fashion column in the London Daily Sketch. He eventually opened his own business at 10 Bruton Street, Mayfair in 1923, with the financial help of his father and first business colleague, his sister Phyllis. In the mid-1950s, Hartnell reached the peak of his fame and the business employed some 500 people together with many others in the ancillary businesses. Hartnell never married, but enjoyed a discreet and quiet life at a time when homosexual relations between men were illegal.

********Fin de Siècle is a French phrase meaning ‘end of century’ and is applied specifically as a historical term to the end of the nineteenth century and even more specifically to decade of 1890s.

*********The term à la mode, meaning fashionable comes from the French and means literally "according to the fashion".

**********Grace Forster was the elegant mother of Noël Coward’s friend Stewart Forster. Grace was talking to a young admirer, when a young woman within earshot of Noël and Stewart said, "Will you look at that old hag over there with the young man in tow; she’s old enough to be his mother". Forster paid no attention, and Coward immediately went across and embraced Grace, as a silent rebuke to the young woman who had made the remark. The episode led him to consider how a "mother–young son–young lover triangle" might be the basis of a play. Thus ‘The Vortex’ synopsis was born.

***********Swiss Cottage is an area of Hampstead in the Borough of Camden in London. It is centred on the junction of Avenue Road and Finchley Road and includes Swiss Cottage tube station. Swiss Cottage lies three and a quarter miles northwest of Charing Cross. The area was named after a public house in the centre of it, known as "Ye Olde Swiss Cottage". Once developed, Swiss Cottage was always a well-to-do suburb of middle and upper middle-class citizens in better professions.

This lovely tea set might look like something your mother or grandmother used, but this set is a bit different, for like everything around it, it is part of my 1:12 miniatures collection.

Fun things to look for in this tableau include:

Aunt Egg’s dainty tea set on the embroidered footstool is made of white metal by Warwick Miniatures in Ireland, who are well known for the quality and detail applied to their pieces. The set has been hand painted by artisan miniaturist Victoria Fasken.

The footstool on which the tea set stands is made by the high-end miniature furniture maker, Bespaq, but what is particularly special about it is that it has been covered in antique Austrian floral micro petite point by V.H. Miniatures in the United Kingdom, which makes this a one-of-a-kind piece. The artisan who made this says that as one of her hobbies, she enjoys visiting old National Trust Houses in the hope of getting some inspiration to help her create new and exciting miniatures. She saw some beautiful petit point chairs a few years ago in one of the big houses in Derbyshire and then found exquisitely detailed petit point that was fine enough for 1:12 scale projects.

The fireplace and its ornate overmantle is a “Kensignton” model also made by the high-end miniature furniture maker, Bespaq. The peacock feather fire screen, brass fire tools and ornate brass fender come from various online 1:12 miniature suppliers.

The round hand embroidered footstool at the left of the photograph acquired through Kathleen Knight’s Dolls House Shop in the United Kingdom, as was the 1:12 artisan miniature sewing box on the small black japanned table in the background

The Oriental rug on the floor has been woven by Pike, Pike and Company in the United Kingdom.

Posted by raaen99 on 2024-04-07 06:23:09

Tagged: , miniature , 1:12 , 1:12 scale , dollhouse miniature , dollhouse , toy , antique , artisan , salon , drawing room , sitting room , furniture , Edwardian , Victorian , dollhouse furniture , fireplace , tea set , teacup , saucer , sugar bowl , teapot , jug , milk jug , sucrier , tray , silver tray , footstool , sewing basket , table , occasional table , japanned , black japan , balck japanned table , poker , fire poker , embroidery , fire screen , hearth , fire surround , pedestal table , stool , side table , sewing , basket , rug , carpet , Victoria Fasken , Victoria Fasken miniature , Bespaq , Oriental rug , Oriental carpet , ornament , drink , beverage , tea , taking tea , afternoon tea , Macro photography , Macro , Tabletop photography , tabletop , collectible , collectable , collection , collectables , collectibles , closeup , closeup photography , fire irons , brass , detail , Bespaq miniatures , embroidered , embroidered footstool

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