“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James
The Friends of Robinson Gardens hosted three magnificent teas, chaired by Adrienne Horwitch on June 21, 23, and 26, 2018 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. President Marian Power had long wanted to have an Afternoon Tea at the Gardens, and showcase Mrs. Robinson’s china. Because the Library in the house needed repainting, all the furniture had to be emptied from the room. It was therefore an ideal opportunity to take out Virginia’s collection of exquisite china, silver, and crystal. Adrienne said, “It was a thrill and treat for me to arrange it and have others view it to enjoy her gracious style of living.” Adrienne was delighted that so many new people attended the teas, and that this event was their first introduction to Robinson Gardens!
The display was truly exquisite and arranged with great elegance and beauty by Adrienne on regal blue tablecloths in the Library. She showed as many patterns as possible from manufacturers as diverse as Limoges, Mintons, Dresden, Haviland, (William/Wilhelm) Guerin & Co., and Nippon. She divided them thematically on five tables: World Travels, Golden Gilt, Fish and Fowl, Garden Florals, and Mrs. Robinson’s Wedding China. The latter, made in the 1800’s, was Harry’s great-great grandfather‘s wedding china and given to the couple as a wedding present. After Mrs. Robinson had passed away, the grand-niece inherited the china. About a year ago when she was downsizing, she gave it back to the Virginia Robinson estate. The beautiful design features a cobalt blue border encircled by delicate, scroll-like gold tendrils and flowers. The attendees were truly impressed and lingered for a long time, enjoying the gorgeous display.
A gracious hostess and welcoming to all, Adrienne then led the guests outside where a sumptuous Afternoon Tea was served on the Back Terrace. The group sat at tables beautifully decorated with Andrey Yun’s gorgeous floral centerpieces on peach tablecloths. Catered by Joe Monteferante, the tea was lavish, royal, and absolutely delicious. Not only were the requisite cucumber, smoked salmon, egg salad, and chicken salad sandwiches served, but there was also a citrus shrimp and radish salad, and a watermelon and tomato salad in little containers called verrines. Cranberry and almond scones, and savory chive and cheddar ones were accompanied by Irish butter and strawberry jam. A delicious array of lemon pots de crème, raspberry crumble bars, and dark chocolate brownies with a choice of teas completed this delightful repast.
In the words of Letitia Baldrige, Jackie Kennedy‘s social secretary when she was First Lady, “Teatime is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” What better setting than the glorious gardens of the Virginia Robinson Gardens to relax and be refreshed by!
We are so grateful to Marian, Adrienne, and also Curator April Walton, Kerstin Royce, and Patti Reinstein who helped Adrienne with the china, for giving us such a wonderful day and a beautiful memory.
Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member