Tea Caddy thumbnail 1
Tea Caddy thumbnail 2
+3
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Tea Caddy

1800-1820 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Tea caddies are small boxes used to store loose tea leaves. During the 18th and 19th centuries they were often highly decorative because they were placed on the table as tea was served, and would be seen by guests. Tea was relatively expensive so caddies of that date usually have locks.

Being small and light they were ideal for decorating at home. Wooden tea caddies with a raised framework were made by cabinet makers specifically to take filigree paperwork, a popular pastime around 1800. They could be purchased from shops such as The Temple of Fancy at 34 Rathbone Place, London, together with strips of coloured paper and published sheets of designs.

This caddy was no doubt home-made from such a kit. The decoration would have taken hours of painstaking work. It is covered in tightly-rolled strips of coloured and gilded paper to create the illusion of metal filigree. It is brightly-coloured and in pristine condition, in complete contrast to most other examples of surviving rolled paperwork which have faded to brown over the years.

It was generously given to the V&A in 1981 but can only make an occasional appearance in the galleries. If continuously displayed, it would soon begin to fade. Showing an illustration on the web is an ideal way of displaying it without damage.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Tea Caddy
  • Lid
  • Case
  • Case Lid
Materials and Techniques
Rolled paperwork on a wood frame, brass handle, cardboard box
Brief Description
Tea caddy in original box preserving bright colours of rolled paperwork
Physical Description
Octagonal tea caddy decorated with rolled paperwork, in a protective cardboard box with lid covered with block-printed floral wall-paper
Dimensions
  • Overall height: 14cm
  • Overall width: 20cm
  • Overall depth: 12cm
  • Interior height: 10cm
  • Interior width: 17cm
  • Interior depth: 9.5cm
Checked on object at Blythe House
Style
Credit line
Given by David Clarke
Summary
Tea caddies are small boxes used to store loose tea leaves. During the 18th and 19th centuries they were often highly decorative because they were placed on the table as tea was served, and would be seen by guests. Tea was relatively expensive so caddies of that date usually have locks.



Being small and light they were ideal for decorating at home. Wooden tea caddies with a raised framework were made by cabinet makers specifically to take filigree paperwork, a popular pastime around 1800. They could be purchased from shops such as The Temple of Fancy at 34 Rathbone Place, London, together with strips of coloured paper and published sheets of designs.



This caddy was no doubt home-made from such a kit. The decoration would have taken hours of painstaking work. It is covered in tightly-rolled strips of coloured and gilded paper to create the illusion of metal filigree. It is brightly-coloured and in pristine condition, in complete contrast to most other examples of surviving rolled paperwork which have faded to brown over the years.



It was generously given to the V&A in 1981 but can only make an occasional appearance in the galleries. If continuously displayed, it would soon begin to fade. Showing an illustration on the web is an ideal way of displaying it without damage.
Collection
Accession Number
W.73-1981

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJuly 7, 2004
Record URL