An early 19th century ivory tea caddy, of sarcophagus form the exterior with cartouches of landscape within bands of foliate on four ormolu feet, the interior lined satinwood. 19 cm high, 26 wide. 26 cm deep.
ormolu. Ormolu was popular with French craftsmen in the 18th and 19th century for ornamental fittings for furniture, clocks and other decorative items. True ormolu is gilt bronze, that is bronze that has been coated with gold using a mercury amalgam. Due to the health risks associated with using mercury, this method of creating ormolu was discontinued in France in the 1830s. A substitute was developed consisting of about 75% copper and 25% zinc, however it was inferior to the bronze version. It was often lacquered to prevent it tarnishing.
satinwood. Satinwood is a dense pale gold coloured timber that was imported into Britain in the second half of the 18th century, and early 19th centuries from the East Indies and the West Indies. The name derives from the satin-like surface sheen when the timber is polished.
It was used in the solid, as a veneer and in inlays. As well as furniture, satinwood was used for making musical instruments, barometers, boxes and clocks.
It will usually be found on only the very best quality objects, presumably because of of its cost at the time.
The buyers premium is an additional percentage charge on the hammer price of the item, imposed by the auction house to cover administrative costs. The buyers premium percentage varies between auction houses, with a range of 12.5% to 22%.