at the Sign of the Hygra
2 Middleton Road
London E8 4BL
Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7254 7074
Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Tea Caddies and Tea
Tea Caddies and Tea



Mahogany Tea Caddy with Conch Shell inlay Circa 1790.

A very good example of a mahogany veneered tea caddy with exceptionally robust shell inlay. A typical design of the last decade of the 18th century.

8.75" wide 4.75" deep 5.5" tall

Circa 1790

This caddy is included in our forthcoming book.

 0c0101.jpg (111394 bytes)
 The box is framed with fine geometric inlay and lines of stringing in contrasting woods. 

 The inlaid shell  is shaded with the hot sand    method which darkens the light wood without the need of stain. This gives a more natural and subtle result.  

The detailed cutting of the pattern makes this an excellent example of such marquetry.


 The shell on the top with slight variations, consistent with the type of work which necessitated individual finishing on each piece. The shells are placed on a green background. 

The greening of the wood was often the result of a fungal attack, or of chemical alteration, or both. This explains the uneven natural looking color. 

There are two lids covering the two sections for holding two types of tea. The lids are a later, possibly 19th century addition. Originally the caddy was divided into three sections.


 The inside retains significant traces of the original lining.  

There are a few old repairs on the veneer (see also front picture) which have been sympathetically done but which are visible. This is well reflected in the price.  

For the historical context of this caddy read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.
We have written a highly illustrated book on Antique Boxes and Tea caddies which is being published by Schiffer Books USA. This tea caddy has been specially photographed for inclusion. 


 © 2002 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly