at the Sign of the Hygra
2 Middleton Road
London E8 4BL
Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7254 7074
Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Tea Caddies and Tea
Tea Caddies and Tea



A Very Fine Mahogany Three Compartment Regency Tea Caddy circa 1815.
This is a very fine mahogany three compartment Regency tea caddy. It was made in England around 1815.  

The caddy is veneered in thick saw cut veneers of figured mahogany.  It is inlaid and edged with fine box wood lines.   It is cross banded with quartered coromandel ebony.

It measures 11.5 inches wide, 5.5 inches deep and 7.75 inches high.

The caddy is in very good original condition and has a working lock with key. 

The inlay motif  is derived from the classical Greek key pattern. Prominent designers and cabinet makers of the period showed strong  classical influences and references in their work  during  the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The escutcheon is gilded pressed brass in stylised floral motif typical of the period.

 Inside the caddy is a splendid surprise continuing the same inlay motifs as the outside but in reverse colours. The inlay line is in dark rosewood on quartered sycamore. This gives the extraordinary figure of iridescent light/dark which changes light value according to the line of vision.

Violin makers who use this wood for the back and sides of violins refer to this grain  pattern as curl. It is also referred to as fiddle back maple. 

 The interior of the caddy is lined in mahogany. The canisters are also made of mahogany and retain some of the original lead lining. This is the correct state for a caddy of this type. There has been no attempt to reline the caddy with "full" later lead.
 The side view illustrates the superb classical proportions of this caddy. 
The handles are original and made in pressed brass in the form of a stylised flower characteristic of the period.
 The pyramid shaped  top of the caddy shows the elegant composition and skillful juxtaposition of the contrasting woods.
 Detail showing the wonderful construction. Note the striped figure of the zebrano crossbanding.
 Detail showing what can only be described as a delicious interior.
The bowl which dates from the same period as the caddy is of heavy crystal and hand cut. Like the caddy is very unusual and of extremely high quality. 


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