14 hours ago
Friday, May 18, 2012
It's Friday, let's talk antiques.
One of my first obsessions with antiques was collecting tea caddies.
The tea caddy played an important role in British households back in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Tea was imported from China to England in the 1600's for it's medicinal as well as pleasurable uses. It became as expensive and as rare as opium!
Well-to-do households back then, kept their tea leaves under lock and key.
The first examples of tea caddies were porcelain and in the shape of bottles, but later in the 19th century, cabinet makers started producing wooden caddies with drawers inside to store the precious tea.
All of the boxes that I collect, are of the Georgian period (George III, c.1820) and have inlaid conch shells and ivory escutcheons (key holes) on them.
They are not easy to find anymore in the U.S. Once in a while, I see a nice example on ebay, but I rarely find them in a shop. They are more popular in England than over here.
Here is a nice article on the history of the tea caddy, with a lot of great photos.
By the way, it's funny how much I love these tea caddies, since I HATE TEA!
I am a coffee drinker, and will never acquire the taste for a hot cup of tea. Sorry.