Taking Tea with Mackintosh Boxed Notecards

Tea rooms flourished as respectable meeting places in late-nineteenth-century Scotland. They offered a welcome alternative to the less-refined pubs and sandwich bars, which were frequented by men only and which served alcohol in a time when temperance was at the forefront of social concerns. Both men and women came to rely on tea rooms for welcome respite and refreshment.

Nowhere did the tea room excel in beauty and function as it did in entrepreneur Catherine Cranston’s establishments, largely because she had the vision to commission the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928) to design her interiors, wall decorations, and furniture. The Cranston-Mackintosh collaboration produced distinctive, elegant environments, with each element contributing to a unique artistic experience.

The cards in this collection reproduce some of the exquisite designs for the tea room wall decorations, created by Mackintosh and his wife, artist and designer Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1865–1933). The back of each card offers a traditional tea room recipe (oatcakes, Scotch pancakes, perkins, and shortbread) from Perilla Kinchin’s book Taking Tea with Mackintosh: The Story of Miss Cranston’s Tea Rooms (Pomegranate, 1998). Together, these designs and recipes evoke the charming ambience of Miss Cranston’s tea rooms.

Twenty assorted full-color 5 x 7″ blank note cards (five each of four styles) with envelopes and decorative box.

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