Tea strainer

ARTIST / MAKER: Unknown
DATE: ca. 1900 (made)
PLACE: Norway (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Unknown
COLLECTION NUMBER: 618

In the 1890s, Norwegian enamel work became increasingly fashionable abroad, and this tea strainer is a beautiful example of the challenging technique of ‘plique-a-jour’. This technique involves fusing different coloured enamels into the empty spaces of a wire framework, and when successful produces a translucent effect similar to stained glass. Tea strainers first appeared in the 1790s and gradually replaced the earlier ‘mote spoon’, which had been used to remove loose leaves floating in the teacup. In the 19th century strainers became an essential part of the tea set, before being superseded by the tea bag in the 1950s and 1960s.