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.

A black lacquer and gilt chinoiserie tea caddy, 19th century, 15 cm high, 24 cm wide, 16 cm deep

Antique chinoiserie tea caddy, with black lacquered finish, mother of pearl inlay and gilt decoration, 25 cm wide, 12 cm high

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

Antique 19th century Chinese export Chinoiserie tea caddy, standing on carved claw form gilt wood feet, approx 15 cm high, 25 cm long, 12 cm D

A Chinese lacquered tea caddy, 19th century with original zinc containers & ivory knobs. 11 cm high, 20 cm wide, 14 cm deep

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 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

Oriental lacquer tea caddy, with silver plated inserts

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

Antique Chinese export tea caddy, fitted with lidded containers

Six various Japanese boxes etc, including wooden tea canister; boat form puzzle box; roll-top wooden box; and three various lidded bowls. Length 20 cm. (roll-top box)

A 19th century Chinese black lacquer and gilt tea caddy, the casket with in-curved foliage and figure decorated panels; pewter fitted interior; carved gilt feet. Width 23 cm

A Victorian Chinoiserie ebonized and gilt tea caddy. (previously with fitted interior - non-extant, cover chipped) width 21 cm

19th century Chinese blue & white tea caddy with turned timber lid, 14 cm high approx.

A Chinoiserie lacquered tea caddy of sarcophagus form, early 19th century, with original metal compartments, on four dragon's head feet, 14 cm high, 22 cm wide and 15 cm deep

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

Vintage English blue Willow Ringtons tea Merchants Oriental scenes tea caddy jar, approx 19 cm high

Georgian Chinoiserie tea caddy with ruby glass bowl. Height 17.5 cm, width 31 cm, 15 cm

An 18th century style Chinese famille rose tea caddy possibly Samson

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

Antique Chinese export tea caddy, approx 32 cm wide, 18.5 cm high

Chinese green ground Canton enamel tea caddy, 20th century. Height 15.5 cm

Chinese blue & white tea caddy with metal lid, plus one other

A Chinese export lacquer tea caddy of rectangular form with Chinoiserie decoration and chased zinc interior. Height 14 cm. Width 26 cm. Depth 17.5 cm

A Chinese export lacquer tea caddy of shaped form with Chinoiserie decoration, faults. Height 16 cm. Width 26 cm. Depth 18 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

A Chinese tea caddy, of hexagonal form, each panel decorated differently. Height 14 cm

Pair large Chinese famille vert tea caddies. Mythical flying dragon decoration Kiangsi mark to base, but later. Height 32 each

A mid Victorian octagonal black lacquered tea caddy with painted gilt Chinoiserie decoration. The interior with original fitted tin lidded engraved tea canisters, circa 1850. Length 23 cm

A Chinese porcelain tea caddy, European silver shape, square pillow form with arched shoulders, decorated in underglaze blue with lakeside pavilions and temples. Lid absent. Height 11.5 cm

Chinese export 19th century tea caddy of pumpkin form, black lacquer with gilding of village scenes and pewter liner. Height 13 cm