As the British were always so serious about tea and tea, it is no wonder that other countries produced caddies to keep up with their demand. This stunning example was made in the early 19th century in The Netherlands as Dutch woodworking often catered to the British market. (The Dutch had their cocoa, the French their coffee, and the British loved their tea.)
This pretty caddy’s unusual serpentine shape would make it stand out in any collection. It sits on four stepped legs that are an integral part of the structure and design of the box. There is a striking edging to the top; it is a rolled-type trim that appears to have been carved, although it probably was a veneer that was painstakingly wrapped around.
The flat top has attached to it a brass handle that would most often be found on chests of drawers, giving it a slightly quirky appeal. There is a very decorative brass escutcheon on the face of the lock.
Inside are three compartments with brass tops that hold tin storage units. The middle section has a large brass hinge with a brass knob filial. The two end units would have had different types of tea in each, while the middle one served as the mixer.
The body of the caddy was made in oak, but totally covered in burr walnut veneer. The sides are curved to accentuate the rounded front corners. The color of walnut is a deep, rich and warm brown. The top operates with two hinges that work effortlessly.
The caddy has been minimally restored and professionally polished to show off the beautiful color and patina. It therefore is in excellent condition.
This is a superb, early example of the remarkable cabinetry produced by the Dutch in the 18th- and early-19th centuries, including the museum-quality marquetry for which they are known. This tea caddy would certainly be a charming and stylish example to add to anyone’s collection.
It measures 9-1/4 inches wide, 5-1/4 inches deep and 6 inches high with the brass handle laid down.
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