The Chitra Collection is an extraordinary private museum of historic teawares. In 2011 Nirmal Sethia, the Chairman of the luxury tea company, Newby Teas, set himself the task of acquiring the world’s greatest collection of tea antiquities to record and preserve tea cultures of the past. Today, the collection, named in honour of his late wife, Chitra, totals almost 1700 objects and is already the world’s finest and most comprehensive private museum of teawares.
With objects drawn from Europe, Asia and the Americas, and from over a thousand years of history, the Chitra Collection is a unique reflection of the importance of tea and the diversity of tea drinking customs across the world. For centuries, tea played a central role in culture and society as a medicinal and revitalising drink, a focus for hospitality and familial domesticity, and as a symbol of national identity. It was also politically and economically significant as a source of profit, a tool of empire and as a trigger for revolution, war and slavery. Today, tea is the most ubiquitous of beverages and occupies an important place in the heart of Britain’s life and psyche. The exquisite and innovative tea wares preserved in the Chitra Collection are testimony to the significance of tea and the rich material culture that it has inspired over the past millennium.
The Chitra Collection is owned by the N. Sethia Foundation, a charity founded by Nirmal Sethia in 1995, which supports medical research, youth activities and disaster relief management. While at present the museum is kept privately in London, the collection’s items will be shown in future public exhibitions. Keep a look out on our homepage for news of upcoming events.