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Henry Clay Polychrome Tea Caddy

£ 17,500

Category
Artists
Reference
dibs
dibs
Height
11 cm (4 1/4")
Width
13 cm (5")
Depth
8 cm (3 1/4")
Henry Clay polychrome oval Tea Caddy in the manner of Robert Adam with a lovely pale green colour, decorated with a leaf decoration running around the top and bottom, having superbly painted scrolling foliage, classical urns and husks all around. The caddy has silver framed glazed Wedgwood jasperware tablets to the front and back. The hinged lid has a silver handle bearing the letters HC and silver escutcheon. The interior of the lid has a silver foil lining and is embossed with a crown and the words "CLAY PATENT". It has a typical gold/gilt metal rim and hinge, all one part and the interior has a single papier mache decorated lid with handle. Retains most of its foil lining.

THE HISTORY OF ANTIQUE TEA CADDIES

In England in the 1700s, tea was an expensive commodity. To keep it safe, people would store it in a lockable Tea Chest or Tea Box, which eventually became known as a Tea Caddy (the word caddy is derived from the Malay "kati", a unit of weight by which tea was sold). As tea was too expensive to risk leaving in the presence of servants, the caddy would be kept in the drawing room. Subsequently, the Tea Caddy became an important & fashionable accessory for the home.

Tea Caddies were made in a huge variety of styles and materials. Some contained glass bowls. The bowl is believed to be either for sugar, or for the purpose of mixing different varieties of tea to the drinker's personal taste.

As tea became cheaper in the early 1800s, its use was much more widespread, increasing the demand for tea caddies. However, by the late 1800s when tea could be bought pre-packed, the demand for tea caddies as functional items gradually declined.

Today Tea Caddies are sought after as decorative pieces, in all shapes & forms.
Height
11 cm (4 1/4")
Width
13 cm (5")
Depth
8 cm (3 1/4")
Year
c. 1785
Medium
Papier Mache, Silver
Country
United Kingdom
Provenance
This tea caddy was displayed at "A Tea Journey: from Mountain to the Table" exhibition at Compton Verney 2019