Tea caddy

ARTIST / MAKER: John Robins (maker)
DATE: 1799 (made)
PLACE: England (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver, with engraved decoration

This silver caddy made by the silversmith John Robins, is divided into two compartments with a central hinged lid. These components, along with the fixed overhead handle and form that tapers towards the base, creates a basket-like form, fashionable from the 1780s to the early nineteenth century. Two borders of ‘wriggle work’ and bright cut engraved flowers and acorns decorate the caddy, with a central foliate spray cartouche containing the initials ‘ASG’. The two compartments would have stored different types of tea, most likely a blend of black tea and a green tea.

John Robins, although from Somerset, was based in London and worked at Clerkenwell Green on being made free from the Goldsmiths Company in 1771. Identified as a plate worker, his output mainly consisted of finely made tea wares.