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31st August 2023

Innumerable characters in our novels begin the day with a cup or two of tea. Often it is the first job for a live-in servant such as Dorcas, Miss Buncle's aged nanny, now her cook-maid-parlourmaid. "It was not until she had shuffled down to the kitchen, boiled the kettle over a gas ring, and made herself a pot of tea that she could be said to be properly awake", something that rings true for so many of us. This is The Brown Tea Pot (1915-16, Yale Centre for British Art) by Gwen John, who captures the moment of peace before a house comes alive.

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