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Tea caddy
  • Tea caddy
    Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751
  • Enlarge image

Tea caddy

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1735-1736 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Ethel Gurney

  • Museum number:

    M.156:1, 2-1939

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53, case 2 []

Object Type
Tea was a highly prized commodity, often kept in locked containers. Elegant tea wares were popular, as tea was made in the drawing room by the hostess rather than in the kitchen by the servants.

Form and Decoration
The distinctive fluted angles and sloping shoulders of this canister mark a development from the traditional forms of the early 18th century, and would appear to have first been used by Paul de Lamerie in 1731 in a highly-individual response to the early stages of the Rococo style. It became a standard form, adopted by many silversmiths in Britain from the late 1730s. The characteristic decorative motifs of asymmetrical C-scrolls, foliage and shellwork have been overlaid onto the canister, emphasising the movement of the curved angles and shoulders of the body. The richly chased cover, shoulders and base are in marked contrast to the central section, which has been left unornamented to accentuate a large expanse of smooth, shimmering surface, ideal for engraving. The heart-shaped cartouche, set within scrolls and different types of foliage, is typical of British engraved ornament of the period, which was based on widely-available French ornamental prints.

The sliding panel of the lid has a hinged handle, and would have been drawn back for filling or dispensing tea leaves. The very precise technical manufacture of these sliding lids would ensure the canister remained completely airtight. The pair to this canister is engraved with the letter 'S', indicating that it held sugar.

Physical description

Tea caddy, one of a pair with case

Place of Origin

London (made)


1735-1736 (hallmarked)


Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751 (maker)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Engraved with the crest and arms of Knife and another family


Height: 11.7 cm, Width: 10.1 cm, Depth: 7.6 cm

Object history note

Made by the London workshop of Paul de Lamerie (born in Bois-le-Duc, The Netherlands, about 1688, died in London, 1751)

Descriptive line

Silver, English

from a tea caddy; Silver, English

Labels and date

British Galleries:
By the 1730s, the rectangular shape for tea canisters was becoming old-fashioned. However, the silversmith brought it up to date with motifs in the new Rococo style. The chased C-scrolls, shells, masks and floral garlands, and the engraved angled surround for the armorials, all became standard Rococo devices. [27/03/2003]


Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares; Drinking; Metalwork; British Galleries


Metalwork Collection

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