Chinese, Japanese and Oriental Themed - Tea Caddies
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...The tea receptacles were often separated by a glass bowl, usually referred to in auction catalogues as the "mixing bowl" or "blending bowl", the idea being that each of the two containers held a different variety of tea, and they were blended in the bowl in proportions suitable to the maker, before being added to the teapot. Others, however, believe the bowl was used for sugar.
The most common material used for tea caddies in the 18th century was silver, and in the 19th century was wood, but tea caddies are also commonly seen finished in pewter, ivory, tortoise-shell, mother-of-pearl, brass, copper, papier mache and silver.
Befitting their status, the finest materials and craftmanship were used in the manufacture of tea caddies, emphasised by the complicated shapes which were variations on a square, rectangle or casket.
In 1784 the tax on tea was reduced from over 100% to 12.5%, and at the same time the monpoly on supply of tea by the Dutch East india Company was beginning to wane. As tea grew cheaper, there was less concern with safeguarding the contents, and as a result the of the tea caddy slowly declined. Most tea caddies avaiolable on the market were made before the mid 19th century.
A variation on the tea caddy is the teapoy, where a larger version of the tea caddy was mounted on a stem and base to form a small table.
A matching pair of Samson Angel tea caddies, early 20th century, in the Chinese manner, the baluster caddies with festoons and gilded decoration to the collar, sprigged to the body, with angels blowing trumpets with a Crown and shield to a gilt reserve; wi
A pair of Georgian blue and white Pearlware tea caddies, late 18th to early 19th century, the cylindrical caddies of carinate form both decorated with Chinese pavilions and garden scenes with decorative diaper, scale and pattered borders to the collars; un
Two porcelain tea caddies and a covered vase by Samson. Late 19th century, in the manner of Chinese export wares the finely lobed baluster caddies and the covered Meiping style vase sprigged with enamel flowers in magenta, puce and emerald each with shield
A fine signed Japanese lacquer tea caddy. Showa period, designed by Ittushinsai Okutsu, born 1935, the circular tapering pot with a flattened dome lid, well decorated with the image of a court carriage in a landscape setting in low relief gilt paste and mo
A Chinese rattan tea caddy with a rose medallion teapot and two cups, Qing Dynasty, mid to late 19th century, in original condition, a flower, bird and insect sprigged straight sided pot with a recessed lid and wire handles and two associated tea cups in a
A Chinese export ware famille rose porcelain tea caddy, of shouldered shape, the panels to either side painted with figures in landscape; provenance to an Otago goldfield's recovery. Hairline crack to mouth. Height 11.5 cm
A Chinese export lacquered tea caddy, early 19th century, the black lacquered box with fine gilt filigree borders and decorated in two tone gilt to the lid with floral and patterned spandrels and bearing the name 'James Murdoch', the interior with delicate
A Japanese mixed metal tea caddy, ovoid shape with tall domed cover, the darkened body decorated with cranes in flight above bamboo, the cover decorated with a scrolling dragon motif and lappet frieze. Early Meiji period. Height 15 cm
A George III blue and white chinoiserie decorated tea caddy, canister form with rounded shoulder and short neck, no lid, coastal pagoda decoration with two figures upon a bridge, unmarked. Height 9.5 cm
A Chinese earthenware tea caddy, 20th century, the double layered caddy of tapering ovoid form with an inverted rim, fitted lid and knop finial, the outer layer with four compartments, two with relief scenes of villages, the others pierced and depicting lo
Antique Japanese brown lacquer tea caddy, with bronze carry handles to the sides, the interior fitted with a engraved pewter cover with two containers, the outer decorated with old coins, dragonflies and bamboo, 30 x 20 x 17.5 cm
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
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