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



An Impressive Inlaid Tunbridge ware Tea Chest Circa 1825.

A  rare early 19th Century shaped Tunbridgeware three compartment tea caddy standing on turned feet. 

All the sides have the distinctive and striking parquetry in Van Dyke pattern of exotic native and imported hardwoods framed with highly figured Brazilian Rosewood and cross banded with kingwood.

The top has a parquetry in dramatic almost three dimensional cube pattern made up of juxtapositions of imported and home grown hardwoods. The native English woods such as maple and thorn have been selected for figure and colour. 

The rosewood cavetto molding gives status to the restrained high level craftsmanship.  


This chest measures 12 inches  wide by 6 inches deep by 7.5  inches high; 33cm wide by 19cm deep by 18cm high.

Please click on the images to enlarge

 tunvan01.jpg (104467 bytes)
 tunvan02.jpg (180886 bytes)
This is an exceptional example of a very important group of tea caddies produced in the first three decades of the 19th century. are of course the Tunbridge Ware boxes. 

The shape is similar to other caddies of the period with the exception that the nature of the decoration precludes extreme bombe or concave shapes. 

In the first thirty years of the 19th century, Tunbridgeware caddies were usually made in rosewood veneer with Van Dyke (elongated triangles) and cube pattern parquetry decoration. 

The earliest ones, like this, do not include mosaic inlays. The mosaic first the 1830s mostly as borders. 

In the 1830s and 40s the early patterns were combined with Berlin woolwork designs in mosaic marquetry. Turned feet were usual, but not handles, which would interfere with the decoration which, continued on all sides.


tunvan03.jpg (150707 bytes)
For comparison see:


Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, and Society -- 1700--1880, ISBN: 0764316885  Antigone Clarke & Joseph O'Kelly, A Schiffer Book for collectors..


Detail of the well composed and executed inlay of the inside of the top.

 tunvan04.jpg (112730 bytes)
 The canisters, as is usual in this form of caddy are separate boxes and slide out. The inside of the canisters retain some of their original leading. 
tunvan05.jpg (138650 bytes)

The wonderful bowl. 

 tunvan06.jpg (146446 bytes)
tunvan07.jpg (108856 bytes) tunvan08.jpg (53149 bytes)
tunvan09.jpg (118871 bytes) tunvan10.jpg (51091 bytes)

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 has now been published by Schiffer Books USA. This tea chest has been specially photographed for future inclusion. 

  © 2003-2004  Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly