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Teapoy

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1825-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved mahogany

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Brigadier Clark Fund through Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    W.16:1 to 6-1973

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries, case 20 []

Object Type
This pedestal table has a lifting top which reveals two lidded compartments for storing tea and two others containing cut-glass bowls for mixing the dried tea. (The latter do not appear to be original to the piece.) It was both a practical object and a means of displaying the hostess's modish taste in furniture as she presided over tea and gossip.

Originally a teapoy was a small three-legged occasional table. The word originates from the Persian and Hindi for 'three'. In George Smith's Household Furniture (1808), teapoys are illustrated as small stands with tray tops supported on a central pillar, 'used in drawing-rooms to prevent the company rising from their seats when taking refreshments'. However, over time the name made people associate them with tea, and therefore the phrase was also applied to tea chests on legs, such as this piece.

Design & Designing
The front of the chest is carved with a panel of scrolling foliage in a style loosely derived from ancient Greece. The sides are decorated with rosettes flanked by palmettes of a type common in Etruscan art from ancient Italy.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1825-1830 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved mahogany

Dimensions

Height: 74.5 cm approx., Width: 43 cm approx., Depth: 38 cm approx.

Object history note

By an unknown British maker

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The teapoy became popular in about 1800 as a table with receptacles for tea. This example is close to the design included in Peter and Michael Angelo Nicholson's 'Practical Cabinet-maker', published in 1826. A copy is displayed nearby. Such pattern books not only provided designs for cabinet-makers but also influenced popular taste. [27/03/2003]

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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