Colonising with Tea

Through the Spice trade colonisation and the growth of the British Empire Tea was brought to the British Isles where it quickly became a valuable asset, taken on by the aristocracy as an exciting social opportunity.
In a two-fold act of colonisation, Tea become an integral part of British culture to the extent that it is described universally as being “quintessentially British”.

The Victorian Tea Plotting Table is a critical look at the legacies of Imperial Britain.
A juxtaposition of the plotting tables of the War Rooms and the tea tables at Afternoon Tea; through mapping and annotation of Afternoon Tea I highlight Tea’s undoubted connection with the unyielding growth of the British Empire.
Movements of Teacups parallel those of vast battleships, whilst territories on the table are gained and lost; spills of sugar and strawberry preserve are coded as if deaths on the battlefield.

The eventual map codifies movement of utensils as dictated by the strict afternoon tea etiquette (such as whom is able to move the teapot, how to stir sugar - i.e. with which hand and which direction one should move the teaspoon etc...) using codes/legends derived from the warmaps from the Battle of Waterloo.


Red = Host utensils/crockery/territory

Orange = Neutral utensils/crockery/territory

Blue = Guest utensils/crockery/territory

Check out Nina and my high speed 'Afternoon Tea for Two', here.