Drawing of a London coffee-house, c. 1690–1700


This drawing gives us a rare glimpse inside a busy coffee-house in late 17th-century London.

What is shown in this picture?

Men sit in the candlelight, sharing long wooden benches, drinking coffee, smoking clay pipes and discussing the newspapers. One servant is taking a bundle of long pipes from a large chest, while another pours dishes of coffee for customers. A maid with a high lace headdress serves behind the bar, and a man enjoys the heat of the fire where the coffeepots are warming. The walls are hung with various notices and paintings, including an advertisement for something stronger than coffee ‒ ‘Right Irish Usquebah’ or whiskey.

What is the date of the drawing?

The drawing is labelled ‘A.S.1668’, but this is inaccurate; the costumes seem to date from around 1690‒1700.

Full title:
Interior of a London coffee-house
c. 1690‒1700, London
Drawing / Image
© Trustees of the British Museum
Usage terms
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike licence
Held by
The British Museum

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