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



A wonderfully shaped three compartment tea caddy in Brazilian Rosewood circa 1825
The shape of this caddy combines elements and influences characteristic of the early nineteenth century. It is structured in an architectural form combining tapered concave and pyramid lines which make this caddy a strong statement of the robust and elegant style of the late Regency.
Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia Nigra) is the most prized cabinet wood of this period. The figuring of the wood in this caddy which contrasts dark and light striations is particularly striking.
This caddy measures 13.5 inches by 7.5 inches deep by 8.75 inches high.
The caddy is in very good original condition and has a working lock with key. 

The handles are turned from solid rosewood. The escutcheon is in brass. The main body of the caddy sits on a base which is edged in gadrooned rosewood. The top part is also gadrooned. The edge of the lid is finished in turned and carved rosewood in a half rather than a quarter circle. These decorative edgings were made on a lathe and attached to the box. 

The caddy stands on four turned and carved rosewood feet. 


The striking profile of this caddy can be seen on this photograph. Note the extra line which deals with the concave shape of the lid. Veneering with thick saw cut veneers in complex shapes required the pre bending of the veneer with heat and water and the use of specially made moulds. This would have been done in good cabinet makers' workshops on high quality items.
The interior contains two lift out containers also in rosewood. The lid is lined in rosewood as are the facings and the bowl holding compartment.
The interior bottom part of the caddy is lined in mahogany which is edged in rosewood.
The lift out containers are of solid rosewood construction and retain most of the original lead lining. The lining is worn on the lids.
Side view showing the handle.
Corner view showing the wonderful colouring and blending of the veneers.
Foot detail. Carved with great care and precision.
Detail of the extraordinary figure. It is easy to see how craftsmen prized this wood for surfaces which were not covered in inlay.
The bowl of this caddy is not original. However it is wheel engraved and of the correct style. 

This bowl is hand blown crystal with pontil mark. 

A pontil mark is the slight scar on the bottom of the bowl left after detaching it from the pontil. The pontil is an iron rod used in glass-making. The presence of the pontil mark shows that it is hand blown glass. Some people call it a punty mark.

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