A Distressed George III Rolled Paper Filigree Octagonal Tea Caddy Under a 19thC Glass Dome

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Origin: English
Period: George III & Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1770 & c.1890
The Caddy:
Height: 6.75 inches
Width: 6 inches
Depth: 4 inches
The Dome: 10.75 diameter base x 10.5 inches high the dome

The George III period rolled paper filigree gilt wood tea caddy of octagonal shape with boxwood edgings profusely decorated with floral motifs, scrolling foliage and pineapples opening to reveal a portioned interior with lift out lid with ivory turned knob and later housed in a Victorian period glass dome on an ebonised stand.

The caddy is in need of serious restoration if one is wanting to return it to its original state with extensive losses to the whole. The interior is complete with partition wall and lift off lid with the original turned know handle. There are loose pieces inside, salvaged from loss.

We fell in love with the caddy due to its obvious quality but also its obvious imperfection; its faded gentility. It being housed in a dome only emphasises its beauty as a flawed masterpiece, a corrupt genius.

The pineapples seen on the caddy are a rarer more whimsical motif than say, vacant ovals, flowers or paterae, for instance and are more commonly seen as finials rather than in the main body of decoration.

Even heading into the early nineteenth century, tea was still an expensive commodity, and it had to be stored securely (hence the escutcheon and lock), and in an attractive manner befitting its luxury status, and of course, the high rank of the owner. The word “caddy” is a corruption of the Malay word “kati”, a weight of tea equivalent to about a pound and a half. The word was not used widely in English until probably the end of the eighteenth century, when its use would have most likely been to refer to a box or chest to house metal or porcelain bottles.

Paled splendour, faded glory. Beautiful.

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