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The Great Gatsby’s opulent teatime

the great gatsby tea time

In this third instalment of our legendary teatime series, the iconic scene from The Great Gatsby opens on a stormy sky. Almost five years have passed since Jay Gatsby last saw Daisy, his childhood sweetheart. Having made his fortune, the protagonist is determined to win her back with the full splendor and extravagance befitting such an endeavor.


A teatime reunion

Daisy’s first cousin Nick agrees to play matchmaker by organizing a teatime for his friend and neighbor Jay Gatsby. The arrangements include the delivery of thousands of flowers to the living room and the close inspection of lemon pies. The millionaire can’t help but lend a hand with almost pathological nervousness. The clock strikes 4 p.m. as the rain lashes down outside. Daisy arrives, blissfully unaware of the surprise that awaits. A soaked, disconcerted Gatsby appears soon after, pretending to be simply dropping by. Their encounter takes place in silence, and the teatime preparations do little to ease the uncomfortable atmosphere. Nick decides to leave them to it and invents a reason to slip out into the misty garden. When he returns, he finds the lovers glowing with happiness. The initially uneasy teatime finally enabled the two old flames to reunite with one another!

Making up for lost time

In his nervous embarrassment, Gatsby almost knocks a broken clock off the fireplace. Besides the telling clumsiness, the incident has inspired a number of interpretations. Some see the sudden movement as an awkward attempt to make up for lost time by grabbing onto the past. Others believe Gatsby has realized his dream of seeing Daisy again, and so shattered an inevitably fleeting illusion.

The devil is in the details: Gatsby’s teatime through the eyes of Baz Luhrmann

Many remember the opulence of this teatime created by Baz Luhrmann in his movie adaptation. In a room overflowing with pale-green, ivory, and cream-colored orchids, Nick serves the guests with a superb Tiffany Art Deco tea set. Every detail counts. This choice of highly expensive flower is the perfect incarnation of Gatsby’s wealth and his methods of seduction. And the U.S. jeweler who designed the movie’s spectacular gems was particularly renowned in 1920’s America when the film is set. These details and more combine to lend an exuberant, oh-so-chic charm to the teatime in The Great Gatsby.



Photo by Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture – © 2013 Bazmark Film III Pty Limited