Victorian Walnut & Yew Wood Tea Caddie with Ivory Keyhole
H 15cm W 31cm D 16cm
Although wooden Tea Caddies were made early in the 18th century, it is not until the second half of the century that they were introduced in any numbers as a home style accessory.
The word caddy derives from the Malay "kati" a measure of weight about 3/5 of a kilo. The 17th century tea containers were bottle shaped tea jars in china, glass, silver, enamel and straw-work covered metal. Tea Caddies were made in wood in box form from the second quarter of the 18th century. The first such boxes were shaped like small chests and contained three metal canisters. They were mostly made of mahogany although a few early ones were of walnut. Very occasionally a chinoiserie box was made. Complete boxes of this type are difficult to find, especially in walnut. Chinoiserie boxes are exceedingly rare.
In England in the 1700s, tea was an expensive commodity. To keep it safe, people would store it in a lockable Tea Chest or Tea Box, which eventually became known as a Tea Caddy. As tea was too expensive to risk leaving in the presence of servants, the caddy would be kept in the drawing room. Subsequently, the Tea Caddy became an important & fashionable accessory for the home.
Today Tea Caddies are sought after as decorative pieces, in all shapes & forms.