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A „porcelain palace“ to rival any in Europe
Rastatt Favorite Palace
The painting "The Tea Drinkers," Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Hot beverages of the BaroqueTea drinkers

Four paintings hang in the Lace Room, Sibylla Augusta’s private room in blue. One, “The Tea Drinkers,” makes reference to a beverage that was hot in the Baroque period, in the truest sense of the word: tea!

“Koppchen” drinking bowl, porcelain, China, 17th century, Favorite Palace, Adi Bachinger

“Koppchen” drinking bowl, porcelain, China, 17th century.

Symbol of the five senses

The painting is part of a series of four symbolizing the five senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing, and finally, taste, represented by the two tea drinkers. The paintings originated in the first half of the 18th century, at the hand of court painter of the Electoral Palatinate, Johann Philipp van der Schlichten.

Fashionable beverages of the Baroque

Tea from China, chocolate from South America, and coffee from the Orient were the three new hot beverages that came into fashion in the Baroque period. Since the early 17th century, tea was initially imported to Europe through Dutch and later English merchants, and spread quickly. Black tea was preferential to green tea.

Detail from the painting "The Tea Drinkers," Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Enjoying tea together.

Drinking tea in the 18th century

The painting of a young woman and child in courtly dress provides an idea of what the 18th-century culture of drinking tea must have looked like. In order to cool the beverage, the tea was poured out of the handle-less drinking bowl, or “koppchen,” into the saucer and drunk from there. Sugar and milk were also added to taste. In addition to the typical metal teapot, the image depicts a coffeepot of porcelain.

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