Sit down. Put the kettle on. Steep up something tasty. I’ll begin with why we named it Love and Scandal Tea Company and I’ll try not to rattle on too long.
I am genetically predisposed to collect things. And I did so, for quite some time–without restraint. That is, until I became a dedicated tea drinker, now more than ten years ago. My interest in tea eclipsed all other pursuits in my life, and I began to read everything I could find on the subject, and experimented with taste until I could tell an Assam from a Yunnan, a first flush Darjeeling from a second, Lapsang from Mao Feng in blind tests. My tea accessory collecting then began to mirror my enthusiasm for tasting; it started with silver infusers and expanded to sugar tongs, eventually branching out to teapots of all varieties until, one day, I found my first photograph of a group of Victorians having tea in a garden setting.
Since that first photo, nothing has been the same. I have rifled through every flea market, haunted every tag sale, rummaged around every table by the side of the road looking for vintage photographs of people having tea.
That first photograph of Victorians on a picnic seduced me. Among the material I had encountered as I educated myself about tea, had been this quote from Henry Fielding, who wrote in his play, “Love in Several Masques”:
Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.
The photograph illustrated that idea absolutely. If you look at the card (it’s called “Scandalous Picnic” in the Tea, Unusually category here on the site) you will see two women sitting to the side of the group with the most mischievous looks, as if their minds had been freshly filled with supremely titillating gossip. I began to think about the ritual of tea itself, the elegance of the ceremony, how it can mark a special celebration or be a small celebration of every day, the confidences exchanged over a cup of tea, the secrets confided, the consolations and the commiserations. Love and Scandal Tea Company – it was the right name exactly.
And that is how, more or less, the idea and company name evolved. There are over 200 images in my collection now, and we hope to expand our line of greeting cards to include more of them as time goes by, as well as branch out into new products. Please browse the site thoroughly, but do be aware that the people having tea in the photographs may be as successful at seducing you as they have been at seducing me.