Tea at the Museum

Jan 1, 2019 | art, tea artist, tea in art

Jean-Etienne Liotard. Still Life: Tea Set. c. 1781-1783. Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s open content program.

We are so lucky these days that many museums and other public collections have digitized the images of their holdings. If you wonder, “How do I find fine art or decorative arts images to use with my writings on tea?” Or, if you want to look at tea-themed images to simply enjoy them – take a look here below where I highlight the tea-themed holding of six major cultural institutions here in the United States.

Some of these digital images are available for both commercial and non-commercial use, others for non-commercial use only.  You will have to explore each institution’s website to find which is the case for each image that interests you.

The search interface differs at each website.  But they are all quite user-friendly.

I entered the general keyword search term “tea” into the search box at each of these websites. I have noted the number of “hits” or records that came up with each search on the keyword “tea.”  Most of the search interfaces allow for more specific searching.  For example, you might want to search for paintings only or for a work by a specific silversmith.  But I have begun here with just the very general keyword search term, “tea.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1,424 records; 1,104 records with images

The J. Paul Getty Museum
226 records; 155 records with images

The New York Public Library Digital Collections
542 records

The Art Institute of Chicago
919 records

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston
2,373 records; 2,038 records with images

The National Gallery of Art
131 records; 121 records with images

I really love doing this type of online searching.  It calls upon my education in art history and library science – in service to my love of tea. I plan to continue this approach to research by looking into the digitized image collections of other museums.  Stay tuned!

Griffen, Smith and Hill. Teapot. c. 1880-1889. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access initiative.