On view now

Tea drinking is an everyday tradition shared by people from all walks of life.

We like our tea made a certain way and of course, in a special mug or cup. Like other objects in our lives, we often assign teacups a second life – they are valued because of what they mean to us.. We keep them in a special place and they provide us with comfort and peace and remind us of shared moments.

Funded through the Queensland Library Foundation, the Tea & Me project captured tea-related memories and stories from across the state.

Teacups and sets are on display in State Library of Queensland’s Reception and Queensland Terrace and include teacups from individuals who have kindly donated their precious objects and shared their stories with us.

Background

Tea & Me was a unique collection project of State Library of Queensland that sought to capture Queensland's special tea-related memories.

The project was initially developed around the unique physical space of Queensland Terrace — the purpose was to animate the space in memorable and engaging way with a teacup collection that changed and evolved over time.

Plans to display teacups on the Queensland Terrace began in 2007, six months after the redeveloped State Library of Queensland building opened to the public.

Didactic text from 2008:

The Queensland Terrace is a room of delightful surprise, adopting the miscreant logic of being both outdoors and a precious cabinet for treasures and memories. It is a space of grand civic scale yet incredible delicacy and intimacy. It houses a fragile domestic cargo of china teacups that evokes memories of places, people and occasions throughout the state.  The collection speaks of the humble collective ritual of tea-taking while simultaneously being reflected, multiplied, fractured and glorified in kaleidoscopic patterns over the glamorously mirrored ceiling. A truly civic room, the Queensland Terrace fuses dignity and gravitas with the familiar and everyday.

A number of teacup project iterations have been considered since then.

The Great Walls of China installation on the Queensland Terrace was a collaboration with Shanghai Library and established as a backdrop, a mass of willow patterned tea sets on display in the wall cabinets for Shanghai Week activities in June 2009.

Tea & Me was launched on 24 May 2011 with a morning tea on State Library’s Queensland Terrace. The project was funded by an anonymous donation through the Queensland Library Foundation and partnered with Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in the collection of teacups and stories for the project.

 

 

Discover more

Tea Time State Library of Queensland Flickr set

View State Library's Tea Time photograph collection on Flickr.

Vintage Queensland Cups and Saucers

Learn more about four vintage tea cups and saucers and one plate featuring images of Queensland locations, found in the State Library collection.

Retro Sandgate Brisbane Cups and Saucers 1950-1959

A matching-pair of vintage retro cups and saucers decorated with an image featuring the Town Hall viewed from Sandgate Memorial Park.

"Greenmount Beach" Coolangatta, Qld. Plate and Cup ca. 1950

View a three piece souvenir teacup set featuring an image of Greenmount Beach at Coolangatta.