Tea could be served anywhere – indoors or outdoors – at this year’s Pasadena Showcase House of Design, an English country estate serenely situated on 3.5 acres. There is the Salon Pavilion adjacent to the Lily Pond, ornamented with an arresting center piece – a tall urn fountain – and miniature minnows and shubunkins darting and painting an aquatic meteor shower. The Nursery and the Nanny’s Room have undergone magical transformation, like the boarding school’s attic has in Frances Hodgson Burnett‘s A Little Princess.
Beneath the Moroccan lanterns hanging from the Carriage House’s angled ceiling, time could be spent in introspection and retrospection, alone of course, or in leisurely fashion with family and friends. Equally coveted spots include the opulent Salon, the wooded front yard, the World Traveler’s Room – to be occupied by guests who are world travelers. Even the well-lit Laundry Room, or the Master Suite’s spacious Walk-in Closet with a view of the San Rafael Bridge, seems ideal for a cup of tea.
The rectilinear design of the Showcase’s Dining Room chair reminded me of the English architect and designer Edward William Godwin’s tea table which I examined a few years ago. What would your first question be, if you were to ask one, about this tea table? Mine is straight-forward: Why and how is it a tea table? Godwin (1833 – 1886) created the elegant piece for the famous stage actress Ellen Terry, his companion of six years. He coined the style “Anglo-Japanese,” and I suspect that the Japonaise element led to the name “tea table.”
Godwin’s design is noted not only for its simplicity and practicality but also economy as conscious effort was made to reduce the material used, in this case, wood. Godwin produced a series of these tables, which some museums call side tables. Certainly it would be lovely to serve tea using one of these tables. Like metal bar carts, the multiple layers provide much needed storage space.
Tea table is also a geological rock formation. Some of these tea tables can be found in Shawnee National Forest.