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.

Georgian mahogany tea caddy, with brass fittings, width 22 cm, diameter 13 cm approx

A Regency mahogany tea caddy with two cannisters and later amber glass mixing bowl, early 19th century. 18 cm high, 15 cm wide, 15 cm deep

Mahogany ornate inlay tea caddy (conch shell inlay) 19th century

Antique English mahogany tea caddy, fitted with original tin canisters, central bronze carry handle and satinwood banding, approx 18 cm high, 26 cm wide, 18 cm deep

A William IV mahogany tea caddy, sarcophagus form, the interior with three compartments, one ivory knob remaining, captured ring side handles with lion face back plate, on four bun feet. (Small repair to lid). 36 cm x 21 cm x 19 cm

Antique Georgian tea caddy with string inlay mahogany, approx 14 cm high, 28 cm wide, 14 cm deep

A George III mahogany tea caddy, early 19th century (2). A George III mahogany tea caddy, early 19th century of sarcophagus form, the domed lid with boxwood stringing and parquetry banding opening to reveal compartments for caddies and a crystal mixing bow

A Victorian mahogany sarcophagus tea caddy with egg and dart moulding. Width 23 cm

A Victorian mahogany sarcophagus tea caddy with ebony stringing. Width 38 cm

A Georgian mahogany oval tea caddy, fruitwood inlay and diamond lozenge escutcheon. Width 13 cm

19th century mahogany tea caddy, satinwood banded decoration, the interior fitted with six caddies. Approx 15 cm high, 45.5 cm wide, 28 cm deep

Victorian mahogany & inlaid tea caddy in rectangular form with a removable insert & a cut glass tea bowl. The lid on the left compartment has come away from the hinge. Dimensions 30 x 15 x 14 cm

A Regency mahogany and fruitwood tea caddy, rectangular, with bone diamond-lozenge escutcheon and with fitted interior. Width 23 cm

A Regency mahogany and fruitwood sarcophagus tea caddy with brass feet, ring handle and foliate key escutcheon. Width 20 cm

A Regency mahogany sarcophagus tea caddy on bun feet; fitted interior. Width 20 cm

A Regency mahogany and fruitwood tea caddy with batwing-fluted oval paterae; fitted interior with single lidded compartment. Width 10.5 cm

A Regency mahogany, walnut and fruitwood tea caddy, sarcophagus form with diamond-lozenge escutcheon; fitted interior. Width 27 cm

Georgian mahogany sarcophagus tea caddy with two interior lidded containers and a cut glass bowl. One foot is loose and some damage to one corner. Dimensions 33 x 18 x 16 cm

Regency mahogany tea caddy three section interior, all parquetry banded with marquetry panels

Antique George III inlaid mahogany tea caddy, with drop ring mask head handles, all standing claw and ball feet

A Regency mahogany tea caddy. It is of scarcopogus form with ormolu ring handles, the hinged lid enclosing a mixing bowl compartment flanked by tea compartment. 18 cm high, 30 cm wide

Large mahogany tea caddy with stringing, lion's head handle

A George III mahogany tea-caddy, English 18th century with sliding side panel revealing secret drawer. 16 cm high, 23 cm wide, 13 cm deep. Provenance: Woolcombe House, Stow-on-the-Wold

A George III mahogany sarcophagus tea caddy with brass bale handle and lock-plate and bracket feet. Height 14 cm. Width 24.5 cm.

Victorian mahogany tea caddy with two canisters and glass mixing bowl

A George III octagonal inlaid mahogany tea caddy, circa 1800. 14 cm high

A Regency flame mahogany small cube form tea caddy, plain form, singular section interior, oval floral embossed gilt metal escutcheon, good dark colour and patina. 12.5 cm x 9.5 cm x 11.2 cm

A large cross banded mahogany tea caddy 19th century, with a fully fitted interior inlaid with burr walnut, lacking the mixing bowl 17.5 x 39.5 x 19 cm

19th century Georgian style mahogany tea caddy. Sarcophagus form, with lions head ring handles and mother of pearl escutcheon; with two internal compartments. Lids available but detached; mixing bowl replacement. Height 17 cm, length 31 cm

An early 19th century sarcophagus tea caddy in mahogany with satinwood stringing and inlaid escutcheon, raised on gilt metal claw feet; the interior divided into three compartments, lids absent, some faults. 28 x 14 x 16 cm

Antique Regency brass inlaid mahogany tea caddy, 31 cm long