02-11-2022, 06:11 AM
#1
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
User Info
Charity shop pick up.

This is a beautiful, octagonal, single-use, “harewood” tea caddy, beautifully and finely inlaid, and still with its internal ‘floating’ lid, showing good colour, patina and with the original bone knob. 

The ‘bat wing’ patera (on the top of the caddy) is very fine, divided into 24 separated hot-sand- 
worked veneer pieces. Each side is decorated with inlaid concentric circles. I have never seen this before.

The lock is unfortunately broken, and a little fleck of veneer was broken away from the lock area when the caddy must have been forced open (not by me). The original (red) baize is in ok shape, both inside the lid and base. The original tin lining has fallen away (collectors want to see this as evidence of age). 
 
But yes; it dates to 1785(!) made during the reign of George III. Great little score from the wild. Value? Anyone’s guess! 

I gave it a beeswax polish. Looks lovely, I hope you will agree.

[Image: 8gY1JwT.jpg]
[Image: 0st1KS4.jpg]
[Image: 7TiWjaM.jpg]

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 02-12-2022, 07:52 PM
#2
  • 2Chops
  • Senior Member
  • North Central PA
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Very nice.

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 02-13-2022, 12:21 PM
#3
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It appears to be in ecellent shape for a piece dating back to 1785.

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 02-13-2022, 05:00 PM
#4
  • MaxP
  • Senior Member
  • Des Moines, Iowa
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No carbide tools, no laser anything, nothing digital...just excellent craftsmanship.

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 02-14-2022, 06:15 AM
#5
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
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Shaun, it’s a beautiful artifact! The marquetry is stunning. Is it as well done as it appears?

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 02-14-2022, 01:48 PM
#6
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
User Info
Well, yes. It is that good. 

By way of background, it was a very interesting time in the history of British tea importation and local consumption. In 1784, a law (The Commutation Act) was passed to reduce  the astronomical tariffs in place that had led to huge prices for even small amounts of imported tea. The taxes had been used to help finance the wars with America. The result of these massive tariffs was a huge increase in smuggling, which was more costly to government to control, so Pitt the Younger introduced the law to reduce taxes considerably, making it more affordable to more people, and this assisting the East India Company to corner the market. 

As the domestic market for tea opened up more, so too did the demand for locally-made caddies, and makers competed by producing extremely well-made, attractive and elaborately detailed containers. This 1785 caddy with the canted sides is an example of exactly this. There were much more expensive caddies available to the wealthier (ivory, tortoiseshell, etc.), but this one was by no means available to the average consumer. Apart from anything else, caddies were displayed in the home as a sign of relative wealth.

Another interesting (unintended) consequence of the increased availability of tea, is that greater numbers of people boiled water leading to a reduction in water-borne diseases.

So what you see is not just an elaborate little box, but a three-dimensional, historical document making quiet reference to politics and trade, economics and marketing, consumption and population health, workmanship, international relations, and a rising middle class.

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 02-14-2022, 02:30 PM
#7
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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A couple more shots showing clearer detailing: 

[Image: 3bQCl00.jpg]
[Image: jSlUR1a.jpg]

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 02-15-2022, 06:59 AM
#8
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Looks like next stop: Antiques Roadshow

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 02-17-2022, 05:12 PM
#9
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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Beautiful, simply beautiful.

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