Tea caddies have long been appreciated beyond their utilitarian purposes. In the 1700s, tea was a precious commodity worthy of being kept under lock and key in beautiful boxes made from exotic woods, tortoiseshell, ivory, horn, and shagreen. Tea caddies became status symbols in their own right for their beautiful craftsmanship and the expensive tea leaves inside. This earned them prominent placement in the drawing rooms of grand homes.
Constructed in an infinite number of styles, many contained glass bowls either for sugar or for the purpose of mixing different varieties of tea to the drinker’s personal taste. Over time, tea became less expensive, and by 1800 the popularity of tea caddies began to fade. Today there is a renewed interest in these stunning objects, and we are pleased to offer a fine selection of tea caddies in our New York gallery.