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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Regency rosewood tea caddy, with brass inlay, lion ring handles, 3 section interior and brass barrel canisters, 35 cm wide, 16.3 cm deep, 16.3 cm high

Georgian rosewood tea caddy, sarcophagus shape. No interior fittings. Four bun feet. MoP key escutcheon (no key available). Length 30 cm

Late Regency mahogany tea caddy, cross banded in rosewood and strung, original lion side handles, with 3 section inlaid interior, C.1830, 31.5 cm x 17 cm, 19 cm high approx.

A Regency rosewood tea caddy, of sarcophagus shape with mother-of-pearl inlay, the hinged lid opening to reveal two compartments flanking a cavity for a mixing bowl. Width 34 cm

Georgian rosewood tea caddy with original inserts & mixing bowl C1820

Regency rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy, with lion mask handles, 34.5 cm wide, 18 cm deep, 20.5 cm high

Victorian rosewood tea caddy having a bone inlaid keyhole, two internal lids, with a key & certificate.

Rosewood Regency double tea caddy with original bowl C1830

A Regency oak and rosewood tea caddy, English, circa 1810, 18 cm high, 31 cm wide, 16 cm deep. Exhibited: Portobello Antiques, Auckland, 5 November 1990

Victorian rosewood? tea caddy. Dome top; mother of pearl key escutcheon. Two internal lidded silvered sections. Bun feet. Length 21 cm

A Georgian burr walnut and rosewood dome top tea caddy., the caddy is of unusual concave shape. The interior is in original condition with two canisters and crystal mixing bowl.

An English rosewood sarcophagus shaped tea caddy on bun feet, circa 1830s. 21 cm high, 31 cm wide, 15 cm deep

Regency rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy with brass inlay, 29.5 cm wide, 16 cm high approx

George III rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy having two lidded compartments & a porcelain mixing bowl, raised on four bun feet. Condition good, some cracking to the base. Dimensions 32 x 17.5 x 15.5 cm

Georgian rosewood tea caddy, width 17.5 cm, diameter 10 cm approx

A Regency rosewood brass inlaid tea caddy, circa 1830 with original mixing bowl, 18 x 35 x 18 cm

Victorian rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy with two lidded internal compartments & a cut glass bowl, a silk lined lid & standing on four ball & claw feet. Condition fair, some losses to the timber, missing lead lining, one foor restored. Dimensions 34 x 18 x

Fine antique floral marquetry inlaid rosewood two section tea caddy

Antique Victorian rosewood tea caddy with inlaid mother of pearl decoration around edge of lid, inset with brass engraved Tea, two lidded boxes inside, circa 1860, 11 cm x 16.5 cm, 10 cm high approx.

A Regency period, rosewood and brass inlay sarcophagus shape, tea caddy, c.1820-1830, with two pullout canister boxes and central cut crystal mixing bowl. Height 19.2 cm. Length 30 cm. Depth 16 cm

A Regency rosewood brass inlay tea caddy, circa 1820, William Batley London Holborn, of sarchophagus form with twin ring handles, the interior with two hinged lidded compartments, embelished with scrolling brass inlay throughout, with original Williams Bat

William IV rosewood sarcophagus shaped tea caddy with mother of pearl inlay

A Brazilian rosewood tea caddy, circa 1835 (2). A Brazilian rosewood tea caddy, circa 1835 of sarcophagus form, the domed rectangular lid opening to reveal an interior with two tea boxes flanking a central crystal mixing bowl, with tapering sides, brass li

A Georgian rosewood tea caddy, fruitwood edging and foliate inlay; brass lion-mask and ring-drop handles; fitted with glass caddies and bowl. Width 36 cm

A George III rosewood tea caddy, fruitwood edging, diamond lozenge key escutcheon; brass lion mask and ring-drop handles, brass ball feet. Width 23.5 cm

A late 19th century birds-eye maple tea caddy with rosewood edging and mother of pearl escutcheon. Width 19.5 cm

A Victorian rosewood tea caddy sarcophagus shaped, the lid inlaid with lozenges and fine marquetry borders, internally comparable motifs raised on gilt metal paw feet, 18 cm wide

Antique English Rosewood tea caddy, missing bowl, approx 14 cm high, 28 cm wide, 16 cm deep

William IV rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy three section interior with ring handles

Antique English rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy, with mother of pearl escutcheon, with fitted interior and a later mixing bowl approx 35 cm long, 24 cm wide, 23 cm deep

Georgian rosewood tea caddy with box wood stringing of sarcophagus form

Victorian rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy on bun feet. Dimensions 23.5 x 16 x 13.5 cm

A Regency rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy with fitted interior and with brass lion mask and ring-drop handles. Width 31 cm

A Regency rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy with flush fitted brass lock-plate, fitted interior; bun feet. Width 34 cm

A Regency rosewood sarcophagus tea caddy with ring-drop handles and bun feet. Width 22 cm

Pair of George III inlaid birch and rosewood tea caddies, each with lead lining (2)

Regency rosewood brass inlaid fitted tea caddy on bronze claw feet with ring handles, a brass inlaid body, velvet lined interior, two lidded canister compartments, a cut glass bowl and a silver plated caddy spoon. Dimensions 31.5 x 16 x 22.5 cm

Regency rosewood tea caddy, inlaid with brass & mother of pearl A/F

A rosewood tea caddy, early 19th century, of sarcophagus form inlaid and strung with mother-of-pearl, the gadrooned hinged lid opening to a pair of hinged lidded canisters flanking a later moulded glass bowl, timber ring handles to the side, on small bun f