Tablescapes: Tea in the Garden with Jane Cumberbatch

We’ve admired the work of Jane Cumberbatch for years. The former decorating editor, journalist, and style director has been showing us how to pare down and scale back with her Pure Style philosophy long before simple living was even fashionable. Cumberbatch has published several books, including her most recent release, Pure Style: Recipes for Everyday, providing a blueprint for her timeless aesthetic. Naturally, we were thrilled when she agreed to put together a tea in her South London garden for our Tablescapes series. A veteran of mixing old and new pieces, Cumberbatch “sticks to a mainly white scheme with injections of color to give a timeless yet modern look. My garden furniture includes a folding white Swedish-style bench from Ikea, slatted cafe chairs from the Conran Shop, and a vintage, rather wobbly painted table that I found in my favorite garden junk source in Somerset.” Pure, simple, clean. Here are some images from our tea with Cumberbatch for inspiration and sources to recreate a similar natural look in your home.

Above: Jane sets the table by her garden, which includes a mix of flowers and edible herbs such as rosemary, mint, lemon balm, fennel, marjoram, and chives.

Above: Cumberbatch serves cucumber and mint sandwiches (made with Cranks wholemeal bread) on a secondhand white plate.

A simple chair cover made with a tea towel; see Cumberbatch’s book Sew Easy for instructions or read about it on her blog, Pure Style Online,

Above: Vibrant pink John Clare and Constance Spry roses from the garden add a dash of color to the table.

Above: Cumberbatch sits at her simple table set with her delicious homemade butterfly cakes with lemon butter icing. “Tea time in my household wouldn’t be complete without something very sweet, and this might well be butterfly cakes and homemade shortbread, both of which are really easy to make.” Find recipes for both in her book Pure Style: Recipes for Everyday.

To read more on Jane Cumberbatch, check out Remodelista’s posts House Call: Jane Cumberbatch in London and Required Reading: Recipes for Everyday by Jane Cumberbatch.

26 comments

Jacqueline Baruch

Looks very inviting

Camila K.
Kamila A.4 years ago

very sweet look

Lin Moy
Lin M4 years ago

I never liked to eat outside with the flys....

Danuta W.
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Very interesting.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers4 years ago

Nice and refreshing!

Linda E.
Linda E.4 years ago

Thanks. I'm always looking for new simple ideas.

Ann M.
Ann M.4 years ago

I don't personally care for the vintage look anymore, but I love the minimalist style. I am trying very hard to "unaccumulate" stuff. It is quite spiritually freeing me of putting too much emphasis on things instead of God and people.

Ellen Mccabe
ellen m.4 years ago

My old picnic table and a hammock are all i need...thanks

Kathy K.
Kathy K.4 years ago

Looks lovely. Thanks.

ana p.
ana p.4 years ago

THANKS.