This gorgeous tea caddy is in serpentine black papier mache. On the top is a frame with most unusual curving mother of pearl inserts with some gilt tooling and in the centre, a beautiful floral spray with mother of pearl accents. There is similar decoration on the front, sides and even on the back. It has a silverplate escutcheon with decorative working key and the lock plate is stamped twice with Victoria crowns. The lining of the lid is of shining black papier mache and the main section is lined with a cream original paper with tiny green hearts. On one side there is a papier mache canister (with original foil lining) which lifts out and its lift-off lid has similar gilt and mother of pearl decoration. On the opposite side is the original cut glass sugar bowl which has a curving six-sided base and is held in a lift out velvet-lined cylinder. It is intriguing that this velvet cylinder on the outside is covered with paper which appears to be an early English train time-table. The condition is excellent for age with some rubbing of the gilding on the top and the glass bowl has a couple of fine hairline cracks at the bottom but this does not affect its overall appearance or its use. Although unmarked, this piece has been created by masterful craftsmen and would make a very dramatic feature on a sideboard and would grace any collection of excellent tea caddies. Length 9 ins (23cm), width 6 ins (15.5cm), height 5.75 ins (15.5cm). Weight 2238 grams. This item appears in my book, "Antique Boxes, Inside and Out" on page 149.