MP-1994.32.6 | Ladies at tea, oranges & cookies, QC, about 1900

Ladies at tea, oranges & cookies, QC, about 1900
Sally Eliza Wood
1900, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
12 x 17 cm
Gift of Mrs. Sara Tauben
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  domestic (49) , Eastern Townships (12) , female (135) , figure (1849) , formal (1) , interior (40) , Knowlton (2) , leisure (134) , leisure event (98) , Occupation (1110) , pair (195) , Photograph (77678) , table (2) , tea (4) , tea cup (1) , teapot (1)
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Keys to History

Urbanization and industrialization had some complex, far-reaching effects on the raw-milk market (raw milk is unprocessed, just as it comes from the cow). Between 1880 and 1920, consumption soared. In 1921 total milk consumption for the city of Montreal was estimated to be 60,000 gallons (273,000 L) per day for a population of 618,506. This rise was largely due to the increase in the number of children and young people. Adults actually consumed very little milk at the start of the last century, except for a little cream in their tea or the milk used for cooking or desserts. This reflected popular and medical beliefs of the time: the properties attributed to milk made it ideal for old people, invalids and children.

  • What

    Two elegant ladies at teatime. Taking tea with a light meal in the late afternoon was a custom among upper-class English-speaking people at the end of the 19th century.

  • Where

    The oranges sold in Quebec probably came from Florida or California, two American states already famous for their orange groves.

  • When

    In 1900, oranges were an expensive commodity that only a wealthy few could afford to buy regularly. Most people had them only at Christmas or other special occasions.

  • Who

    This photograph was taken by Sally Eliza Wood (1857-1928). She opened a photography studio in Knowlton at the turn of the 20th century. Her pictures often show domestic scenes.