A Georgian Inlaid Tea Caddy, c. 1770, c. 1770

c. 1770
mahogany and other woods on a pine carcase, brass handle
14 × 13 × 24 cm
$ 450

A Georgian inlaid tea caddy, the rising top with a brass handle, enclosing three compartments, veneered in mahogany and with checkered stringing and other exotic woods.

Part of the extensive social ritual of the 18th century, the “drinking of a dish of tea” signified social status or aspirational status seeking. The price of one pound of the most choice “hyson” tea was GBP2 which nowadays would be about $85.00, and the theft of tea often caused a poor domestic to be transported to the colonies. This was why tea was locked up in elegant caddies, produced on the tea table as part of the elegant ritual of making tea, with its special furniture, silver and porcelain accoutrements.


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