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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Cages at the White Rabbit tea room.

Some time ago a good friend of mine from Paris told me the most exquisite story. It was one of those stories, where the pictures never ever really leave your head again:

She told me about her grandmother who had been a Persian noble woman, who had moved to Paris  with her Russian husband. The story she told me about her was that she would frequently go to a special Tea house in Paris where all the ladies would bring their birds, in their cages.
The birds would be hung up on the ceiling to sing to each other, while the ladies were seated below, gossiping and sipping their tea…

Admitted the walls need some help...

Needless to say I have searched for such a place, but never found it. Only online did I find a contemporary art gallery in Sydney that has antique cages in their tea room… I found the picture through a great tea blog: The Tea Urchin.

When living in Newport there was the most elegant tea house in the garden, with a domed ceiling, and windows on the four corners. The walls were covered in old Zuber hand painted wallpaper, showing birds and greenery. It had been my dream to change this tea house into a functioning room again. With antique cages on the ceiling and comfortable seats and tables scattered round below.

The original interior... Love the lantern.

This tea house in Newport is an early 20th century copy of the 18th century original summerhouse, designed by the great Salem, Massachusetts carver/architect Samuel McIntire for Capt. Derby’s summer farm in Danvers Massachusetts in 1795. A young lady who visited the estate in 1802 wrote of going upstairs to the room above, “The air from the windows is always pure and cool and the eye wanders with delight over the beautiful landscape below…The room is ornamented with some Chinese figures and seems calculated for serenity and peace.”

How wonderful would it be to drink tea there on a summer afternoon, listening to the birds while catching up on the latest news.

Well, one can dream, no? Tweet tweet.

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