Learn about Tea Caddy

In the 17th century, tea was first introduced to Britain from the East Indies by the Dutch East India Company who had a monopoly on this trade, as well as some of the spices now in common use. As a result, the leaf tea from which the drink was made was an extremely expensive commodity, and so had to be appropriately stored and safeguarded. The tea caddy was devised for this purpose.

The first tea caddies, sometimes called tea canisters, as they were only single compartment vessels, were often of silver, and bottle shaped with a removable top that could be used to measure tea into the pot.

In the 18th century, taxes were imposed on tea making it even more expensive, and to safeguard the contents a lockable box was devised. The simple forms of these boxes had a removable receptacle to store the tea. The larger examples housed two receptacles side by side. The tea containers were often lined with a silver paper like substance presumably to protect the tea from moisture. more...

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Superb antique tortoise shell and ivory tea caddy, fitted with two sections, silver string inlay, engraved medallion to the top, all standing on ball feet, approx 16 cm high x 19.5 cm long, 12 cm depth

A Georgian tea caddy, tortoise shell & silver with ivory internal trim & knobs, early 19th century. 13 cm high, 17.5 cm wide, 10 cm deep

A Regency tortoiseshell, ivory silver strung tea caddy, circa 1810 the domed faceted top with blonde tortoiseshell cross banding, centred by a silver tablet, opening to reveal two lidded compartments, with ivory spacings between the lid and eight sided bod

A Victorian tortoiseshell tea caddy, serpentine sides, shallow domed cover. Width 12 cm

A Victorian tortoiseshell veneered tea caddy rectangular with rounded edges, silver inlay stringing and vacant cartouche to lid, the interior with tortoise shell veneered lids, all raised on brass ball feet, (losses), 16.5 cm wide

A Japanese tortoiseshell veneered and lacquered tea caddy rectangular with rounded edges and a raised maki bird motif to lid, internally with twin tortoiseshell veneer and lacquered lids, 21 cm wide

A Victorian tortoiseshell veneered tea caddy. rectangular with rounded edges, silver inlay stringing and vacant cartouche to lid, the interior with tortoise shell veneered lids banded in ivory, 20 cm wide

A 19th century tortoiseshell and ivory tea caddy the body of tortoiseshell with interior ivory and tortoiseshell fittings, above four ivory feet, 19 x 15 x 12 cm

A 19th century English brown tortoiseshell and bone mounted tea caddy the hinged lid and lower body with an ebony patterned bone border, above four brass ball feet, (corner decorations lacking), 16.5 x 13 x 11.5 cm

A 19th century tortoiseshell and bone mounted tea caddy, loss to a section of bone string inlay, 16.5 x 13 x 11.5 cm.

An early Victorian tortoiseshell tea caddy, circa 1830s/40s, of sarcophagus form with a plain white metal cartouche to the lid and a conforming escutcheon, with tortoiseshell veneer throughout with metal stringing, the interior containing lidded compartmen

A Victorian tortoiseshell tea caddy with mother of pearl inlay mid 19th century with twin lidded compartments, some wear and restoration to edges, 19.5 cm wide

A sterling silver and tortoiseshell tea caddy, 1894 Chester, with maker's marks for Cornelius Desormeaux Saunders & James Francis Hollings (Frank) shepherd, an oval straight sided caddy of tortoiseshell with a silver mount having a simple ribbed design to

Antique early 19th century tortoiseshell tea caddy, approx 17 cm high, 29.5 cm wide, 14 cm depth

A good George III tortoiseshell bowfront tea caddy, the flared pagoda form top with a small silver name plate engraved 'Sanderson', the front finely inlaid with mother-of-pearl chinoiserie decoration of florals and stylised building, plain three-quarter co

A good early Victorian tortoiseshell tea caddy, rectangular form, the mildly domed lid of hexagonal section, plain un-engraved rectangular top plaque and escutcheon, opening to reveal an ivory lined edge interior and two tortoiseshell covered compartments,

Fine antique tortoise shell and ivory two section tea caddy, standing on ball feet, 16 cm wide x 15 cm high

Fine antique English blonde tortoise shell and ivory tea caddy, fitted with a two compartment interior, approx 13 cm high, 22 cm wide, 13 cm deep

Fine and rare antique tortoise shell tea caddy, with ivory banded edge, inlaid pewter stringing, and floral mother of pearl inlay. 21 cm long x 14 cm high

A Japanese tortoiseshell and lacquered tea caddy, mid 19th century, rectangular, with a lid inset with tortoiseshell and lacquered with a landscape scene, internally fitted with two canisters of similar construction, 21 cm wide.

A Victorian tortoiseshell veneered tea caddy, 19th century, rectangular with serpentine front, silver inlay stringing and vacant cartouche to lid, the interior with tortoiseshell veneered lids, all raised on wooden bun feet, 17 cm wide.

A Victorian tortoiseshell veneered tea caddy, 19th century sarcophagus shaped with silver inlay stringing and vacant cartouche to lid, internally with twin tortoiseshell veneered lids, 22. 5 cm wide.

A Victorian tortoiseshell veneered tea caddy, 19th century, rectangular with serpentine front, silver inlay stringing and engraved cartouche to the compressed pagoda lid, ivory banded to the interior, all raised on wooden bun feet, 17 cm wide.

An impressive Regency tortoiseshell tea caddy of sarcophagus form, the stepped lid with ivory and metal stringing the body with chamfered corners, ring side handles, flower form metal feet, the interior with two tortoiseshell lidded compartments, space for

A Georgian sarcophogus tortoiseshell tea caddy with matched tortoiseshell panels and silver stringing. The interior with twin lidded compartments and turned bone knobs. Length 20 cm

A silver and tortoiseshell tea caddy of oval section with a conforming press-on lid. Birmingham 1920 by Horton & Allday. Height 8.5 cm

A fine George III tortoiseshell decagonal tea-caddy, English, circa 1780 with original key 15 cm high, 13 cm wide, 7.5 cm deep

A collection of horn and tortoiseshell snuff boxes Early 19th century Including a sterling silver mounted hoof snuff box, 6cm wide; a sterling silver mounted horn snuff mull, 7 cm high; and a pear shape Sheffield plate mounted tortoiseshell snuff box, 8.5

A small tortoiseshell tea caddy, circa 1860, the sarcophagus shaped caddy with chamfered lid inlaid to the full exterior with tortoiseshell veneer and included within the twin lids also inlaid with veneer all raised on bun feet, 16.5 cm wide.

A George III tortoiseshell dome lid tea caddy (1738-1820) tortoiseshell, ivory, mahogany with two inner compartments, original lids and original lead lining. Box height 14.5 cm. Length 16.5 cm. Width 9.5 cm

A Regency ivory and tortoiseshell tea caddy, in panel led ivory and tortoiseshell and silver mounts with an inserted painted portrait miniature of a lady to the front, inlaid silver borders and escutcheon, the hinged cover opening to a lined interior. Widt

A Regency silver mounted ivory tea caddy, retailed by R. Lewis of St. James the fluted panel s inlaid with tortoiseshell borders and inset with an oval silver panel engraved with monogram Rh, some cracks and losses. Height 14 cm

A Regency tortoiseshell fitted tea caddy, with radiating sunburst panels to the bowfront, inset with a silver panel with engraved monogram 'MYS', the whole mounted on four silver ball feet, the interior complete with two covers verneered with lined tortois

An early 19th century sarcophagus form tortoiseshell tea caddy, the interior fitted with two lined compartments complete with tortoiseshell covers with inlaid ivory borders. Width 20 cm. Depth 12 cm. Height 14 cm

High quality Georgian tortoiseshell tea caddy, with ivory fittings and silver inlay. Height 16 cm

A good early Victorian tortoiseshell tea caddy English, 15 x 20 cm

A George IV tortoise shell tea caddy with silver inlays (a/f)

An antique tortoise-shell ivory and mother of pearl inlaid serpentine fronted tea caddy, English early 19th century 10 x 18 x 11 cm

19th century tortoiseshell bow fronted tea caddy casket with pearl shell floral inlay. Height 14 cm

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