This antique Victorian papier-mâché dual compartment footed tea caddy features inlaid abalone on the front and sides. The top of the domed lid is finished with heavy abalone decoration while its scalloped edge is bordered in gilt. The exterior of the caddy also bears hand painted polychrome motifs with stylized floral patterns along with ornate gilt accents. The key escutcheon on the front is composed of brass and has a shield-like form. The original key is no longer present.
The caddy has a hinged lid which lifts to reveal twin side-by-side compartments covered by two removable lacquered lids. The lids have been fitted with small turned mother-of-pearl knob handles. The interior of both tea storage compartments and the underside of the lids retain the majority of their original silver foiled lining.
The tea caddy is in very good original condition with no repairs. As an antique item, the piece shows appropriate signs of age consisting of craquelure to the lacquered finish, scratching/nicks to the surface and finish loss to the paint. In addition, the knobs on the internal compartments have minor nicks/chips. As seen in the accompanying photos, these issues do not detract from the appearance of the piece and are mentioned for accuracy. The caddy measures 6.75" by 4.75" at the foot and stands 4.5" tall. The interior lids are 3.5" by 2.75" and the compartments openings themselves measure 2.625" by 3" and are 2.5" deep. The piece weighs in at 1lb 5oz.
This 19th century tea caddy would be a fabulous addition to an existing collection of tea caddies, or works equally well as a stand alone piece. A lovely antique find!