Earlier today I found this incredible painting that really amazed me. The painting is Tea in the Hospital Ward by British artist Stanley Spencer.
Spencer portrayed a group of wounded soldiers and volunteers at the Beaufort Military Hospital in Bristol, England. Spencer was one of the most important British painters who portrayed soldiers in their daily lives.
I love that Spencer decided to portray the soldiers who were wounded and had to stay in the hospital. I think this a great way to commemorate the people who fought, because it depicts them in their human daily actions. I also like it because I think it shows what was behind the war: the help of the volunteers, hospitals, the food distribution, etc. These are things that sometime become secondary when we think about war. Sometimes we focus only on the soldiers at war and do not think of the people who were at home, ready to help the soldiers who were coming back from the war.
I love Spencer’s colors choices. The colors are simple: dark blue, red, white and egg shell. Spencer portrays the subject from the top, allowing us to get a general idea of what was going on in hospital wards during World War I. Spencer portrays volunteers who are preparing tea, jam and toast for the soldiers who are resting in the background.
Spencer portrays a moment of comfort for the soldiers. The volunteers are serving tea, which was more than a beverage to the British. Therefore, for soldiers, tea meant family, warmth, comfort: something that could reassure them in such a difficult moment of their lives. Here is an article on the history of tea. It makes a really good point on how tea had become a commodity in British people’s diet.
For today’s recipe I want to share how to make homemade jam. You can spread it on bread and enjoy it with some hot tea, maybe earl grey with milk and sugar, just like the British tradition.
Here is the recipe for raspberry jam, my personal favorite. Enjoy!