This is a stunning quality sterling silver tea caddy by the renowned silversmith William Vincent, and it dates to 1775 (London, George III). It is in classic oval/drum-form and is decorated with engraved floral swags on the edges with further swags on the body of the caddy. There is a monogram on the front, possibly ‘JAH’ and around this is a Latin motto which interprets as “If God is on our side, who can be against us”. The lifting handle is formed as a spray of oak leaves with acorns. The construction of the hinge is of such quality that it is hardly visible. When opened, there is a plain interior which is darkened, presumably from earlier contained tea. Within the caddy is a scrap of paper with some details regarding the motto and the statement that it belonged to two families – Mairis and Otway. There is a keyhole and lock-plate. The lock-plate on the inside has been forced at some time in the past but if this of concern it could possibly be straightened. The only other “flaw” is that in the past it has been tested for silver on the base which has left a long, narrow indentation. Otherwise this piece is in fabulous original condition and is a stunning example of the elegance and workmanship of the later 18th century. It would grace any collection. Width approximately 4 ins (10.2cm), height not including handle approximately 3 ins (7.6cm). Weight 294 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 133.
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