Object Description

A rare pair of antique sterling silver tea caddy boxes with sliding lids. The removable cap doubles up as a tea measure. Lovely plain hexagonal design and good gauge silver. Each sliding top caddy has a decorative cartouche hand engraved to the front. Total weight 390 grams, 12.5 troy ounces. Height 12 cms. Base 9 x 6 cms. London 1723. Maker Edward Gibbons.

Biography – Edward Gibbons, London silversmith, son of Robert Gibbons. Apprenticed to Thomas Ash 1712, turned over to John Farnell 1715, free 1719. 1st mark entered as largeworker 1719. 2nd mark (sterling) 1723.

Object Literature

A Tea Caddy is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea. The word is believed to be derived from “catty”, the Chinese pound, equal to about a pound and a third avoirdupois. The earliest examples that came to Europe were Chinese tea canisters in blue and white porcelain with china lids or stoppers.
Tea in the early 18th Century was expensive, and also there was a tax on tea. so early tea caddies were small and made in precious materials such as silver, shagreen or tortoiseshell which reflected the valuable contents within.

Some of the earliest silver examples have sliding bases (or tops) and the cap was used for measuring the tea. By the mid eighteenth century matching sets were available, with two caddies (for green and black tea) and a sugar bowl, all fitted into a wooden or shagreen case, often with silver mounts. During the late 1700’s the locking silver tea caddy was introduced with its own key which the lady of the house kept on the chatelaine around her waist. Double locking tea caddies in silver are rare.

Object Condition

These charming antique tea boxes are in very good condition with no damage or restoration. The engravings are crisp and contemporary. Each is stamped with a full set of clear and matching English silver hallmarks to the body, makers underneath the box, lion mark on the sliding lid, tops unmarked.

Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.

Object Classification

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