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



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Polychromed Chinoiserie Tea Chest, Circa 1820.

A polychromed tea chest painted in a fluid hand with an exotic scene. The elongated figures, the inverted flower hats, and the lightness of execution suggest a knowledge of later more refined chinoiserie design. The top is similarly decorated gently built up into three dimensions using white size and fine plaster. 

The faces in particular display the sensitivity of the artist; the effect is of ivory.  The feet and handles are of strong Regency form. 


Circa 1820. 

The tall female figures with their long feet and large round eyes look European rather than Oriental. A piece which echoes the Sino-European relationships of the early 19th century.

Wearing a pumpkin hat, chasing an exotic bird with a spear! 
Front view. The strange perspective showing unconnected buildings and islands on the top part, is characteristic of the whimsy style of chinoiserie.
Original feet and handles. The handle has a lower disc which is designed to stop the loop from scratching the wooden surface.

The top. There is some loss of built up material in the foreground where the larger building stands. There is evidence of restoration of color in this area otherwise all the painting is original and untouched. 

Detail showing the use of gold and color; also of original varnish. 

The inside is decorated with similar colors with emphasis on the use of gold. 

The lift out canisters are in the background black and varnished as the rest of the chest.

The original varnish is also retained on the inside.

Detail of the original inside of canister.

Beautifully engraved heavy bowl.
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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.

We have written a highly illustrated book on Antique Boxes and Tea caddies which is being published by Schiffer Books USA. This tea caddy has been specially photographed for inclusion.

  © 2002 -2005 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly