Sunday, September 20, 2009


Yes, yes, I'm fully aware of what Liza Minelli sings: "Life is a cabaret!" But that's just plain Broadway musical baloney.

A cabaret (pronounced "ca buh RAY" just like in the song--at least she got that right) is actually a porcelain coffee or tea service that usually has a pot, cups, saucers and frequently, a creamer, sugar basin and even a tray.

Here's a cabaret set of VEB Porzellanmanufaktur of Plaue, Thuringia, Germany dating to c1890:

And here's a detail shot of one of the cups. Ok, the set's a bit too foofy for my taste but then if I had great taste I'd be a decorator and not an antique dealer:

Prefer tea? Here's a lovely English porcelain cabaret tea set:

How can you tell if it's a tea or coffee set? Factoid: the tea pots are "short and stout" and the coffee pots are "tall and skinny". So the German VEB set above is for coffee and tea and the English set above is just for tea. Simple dimple.

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