Late-19th/Early-20th Century Anglo-Indian Tea Caddy - image 1 of 12

Tea was cultivated in India and widely used in ancient India, since the plant is native to parts of the country. However, the British did not start commercial production of tea until the arrival of the East India Company in the early 1820s. Their tea cultivation began the process of creating India as a leading producer.

This fabulous caddy is a fine example of both hand-carving and fretwork used to store and serve from the semi-precious commodity. As tea increasingly became the dominant drink for all classes during the Victorian era, tea caddies were produced to supply the masses with beautiful containers for tea. The hand-carved fretwork on this box goes all around it, including the back. The intricate and elaborate carving was done to give the caddy a strong presence in the household.

This tea caddy has two separate compartments; one has a fitted lid with a small filial to store loose tea. The other was lined in velvet fabric so that glass containers could be placed in it for mixing different types of tea leaves. The caddy has a lock in the front, but the key is not present. The lid is set on two brass hinges, and there is a large brass ring on the top to lift it and carry it when locked.

The carvings that go around the caddy’s lid and down the sides are of leaves and flowers. The carving is quite deep, helping to make this caddy exceptionally decorative. The use of the fretwork gives it a sculptural appearance. It has acquired a rich, reddish-brown color and a soft, glowing patina. It has a green felt bottom to prevent damaging fine furniture.

The condition is excellent for its age and use. This is a beautiful piece of workmanship and would be a welcome addition to any collection.

It measures 10-1/8 inches wide, 6 inches deep and 6 inches high.


Perry-Joyce Fine Arts

Late-19th/Early-20th Century Anglo-Indian Tea Caddy

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