Sunday, February 19, 2012


Tea was introduced in England from China in the mid 17th century. Because tea was regarded as a precious commodity, special boxes called caddies were used to store the tea leaves. Tea caddies were made from various materials, including tortoiseshell, porcelain, carved and inlaid woods, and metals ranging from painted tin to engraved silver.

The two images below show a circa 1790 blonde tortoiseshell tea caddy with ivory and pewter stringing. It has two interior lids (images courtesy of http://www.bazaar

And below are two images of a circa 1840 rosewood sarcophagus form tea caddy on lion paw feet with two interior lids and center mixing bowl (images courtesy of http://www.bazaar

DID YOU KNOW THAT the British crown had imposed such high taxes on the importation of tea, that by the mid 18th century the duty on tea had reached 119 percent? Such heavy taxation brought a new found income for the government but soon, it also helped create a new booming industry: tea smuggling! (source: