Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Tea caddy with Perth connections brews up a good price at auction

Post Thumbnail

Just before its coronavirus close-down, auctioneers Christie’s sold a wonderful Georgian tea caddy for a price that would require a sit-down.

Tea was a precious commodity back in 1770 when this caddy was made by one of England’s greatest craftsmen – and the little boxes which contained the leaf for brewing have been saleroom darlings ever since.

By the late 1700s, tea was taken in the coffee houses frequented by the intellectuals and mercantile men of the world. It is no coincidence that Dundee’s splendid coffee house (later Winter’s the Printer’s in Exchange Street) and Perth’s Exchange coffee house (now Gillies in George Street) were given prime sites either side of 1800.

Tea, however, was extremely expensive. Only the wealthier classes could afford it. And the lockable caddy protected the precious leaves.

Attributed to the famous London maker Ince & Mayhew, this c1770 tulipwood-banded, satinwood and marquetry tea caddy was once in the collection of the late Lord Perth of Stobhall Castle, on the Tay upstream from Perth.

With a white-metal handle, its domed cover inlaid with a foliate motif and trompe l’oeil fluted frieze, it opened into a divided interior with two rosewood lidded wells. Externally, its carcase was inlaid with flowers, foliage and urns and centred by a coat-of-arms.

The 8½ x 13½ x 6-inch caddy was sold by Christie’s in 1996 when part of the Earl of Perth’s collection was dispersed. I knew the late Lord Perth, the 17th Earl, and attended that sale. Perhaps his forebear, the 10th Earl, also knew the Perth runaway James Christie who, in 1766, set up the famous auctioneers.

The caddy sold for £4750.

George III tea caddy with Perth connections, £4750 (Christie’s).

Already a subscriber? Sign in