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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Tea Caddies and Tea
Tea Caddies and Tea



A Wondrous Regency Three Compartment Painted Tea Caddy circa 1820
 This is a truly rare and wondrous Tea Caddy. Penwork and painted caddies are very rare. This one has the added unusual feature of the "Regency" green colour instead of the more usual black.
It is painted all over with chinoiserie scenes framed in stylised scrolls of leaves and flowers on a sycamore ground.
It measures 12 inches wide  by 5.5 deep and it is 7.75 tall with feet.
The caddy is in very good original condition and has a working lock with key. 
It stands on its original pressed brass feet.
 Front view: the scenes are of oriental figures in gardens with pavilions, bridges and exotic trees. These were inspired by tales of the gardens of the Hong merchants which British traders and diplomats were allowed to visit whilst in Canton. Such scenes found their way into prints and books as well as diaries and letters of the period. 
 The inside is lined in sycamore. It contains two mahogany canisters which are decorated with further scenes and which retain some of the original lead lining. The central compartment is painted to match the colour of the rest of the caddy. There is a small crack on the side of the holding circle. To avoid any risk of it breaking we have reinforced it with a small piece of wood from underneath.  (Not visible) 
The inside of the lid is lined in the original   velvet. The bowl well is lined in original green paper.
 The back view with more exotic scenes with the particular perspective which gives the inimitable flavour of the period.
 The pyramided top with five smaller scenes.
The back panel of the top has suffered a crack all along which was professionally consolidated at sometime in its long life. It does not affect the picture or the beauty of the box.
 Side view showing two figures conversing under an exotic tree or leaf? 
 The other side showing a figure walking towards a pavilion.
 Detail of one of the four original feet in characteristic Regency style. 
 Detail of the canister with another scene of the English interpretation of oriental life.
 Detail of the other canister.
The facings on the inside are in light colour on the top and dark on the bottom. This gives the caddy two thin elegant lines when closed and adds interest when open.
 Close up of delicious detail of front.
More details. Note the rock? figure on the left holding up a fantastical tree umbrella.!  
 Man talking to flower! What has he been drinking?
 Detail of top. Everywhere there are superb vignettes encapsulating the cross cultural influences of the time.
The bowl like the caddy is superb. 

This bowl is the original heavy hand  blown and cut crystal. The pattern on the lower part reflects the leaf pattern on the surround of the caddy. (see photograph above).

For the historical context of this caddy read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.


  © 1999 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly