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Caddy spoon

  • Place of origin:

    England (designed and made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850-1878 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    George John Cayley, born 1826 - died 1878 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver cast and parcel-gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Hugh Cayley

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 67, The Whiteley Galleries, case 4, shelf 13

A caddy spoon is a type of spoon for use in taking and measuring dry tea from a tea caddy, usually small enough to fit inside the caddy. English examples were developed in the mid 18th century when the Chinese tea bottle was superseded by the tea caddy, having an opening large enough to accommodate a small spoon to dispense and measure the tea and when the cover (the thimble top) was no longer used as a measure. Caddy spoons were always required to be hallmarked, being excluded from the exemption of the English act of 1790 relating to small articles.

George John Cayley (1826-78), son of the MP Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, was an eccentric.. Besides dabbling in poetry and writing a light-hearted book on travels in Spain, he was a gifted artist (he illustrated some of his own books) and a craftsman known for his metalwork. In 1862 he and the painter George Frederick Watts worked together to design the challenge shield for a shooting championship at Wimbledon. He was also one of the more left-wing Cayleys of the 19th century – and a keen tennis player.

In 1870 he went to live in Algiers to try and improve his health. There he played tennis as long as his health permitted — “longer, it might be said” according to recollections of him in a 1909 edition of his Spanish travel book. This was shortly before lawn tennis as we know it became established. During spells in England he worked with a carpenter and cabinet-maker, William Button Maslen from near Swansea, to develop new types of tennis racket. In January 1875 the Edinburgh Review, which is still in existence, published his article Lusio Pilaris and Lawn Tennis, which was the first ever article on lawn tennis.

Physical description

Caddy spoon, the bowl cast from a cockle shell, the handle decorated with a device and spherical bead, gold plated, terminating in a ring formed as a mermaid.

Place of Origin

England (designed and made)


ca. 1850-1878 (designed and made)


George John Cayley, born 1826 - died 1878 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver cast and parcel-gilt

Marks and inscriptions


Crest on handle (shield) bearing the arms of Cayley


Height: 2.10 cm, Length: 8.00 cm, Width: 5.00 cm

Object history note

Bequest of Hugh Cayley, the son of George John Cayley

Historical context note

There is a photograph of George John Cayley, taken by Camille Silvy dated the 8th of January, 1862 in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG Ax56645). The photograph was taken in the photographer's studio at 38 Porchester Terrace, Bayswater.

Descriptive line

Caddy spoon, silver and gold, England, (no hallmarks), designed and made by George John Cayley, ca.1850-1878.


Silver; Gold


Casting; Electrogilding

Subjects depicted

Coats of arms; Mermaid; Shell


Metalwork; Silver; Tableware & cutlery; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares

Production Type



Metalwork Collection

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