Tea caddy

DATE: late 19th century (made)
PLACE: England (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Oak with walnut veneers

Designed to look like a stack of books, this tea caddy would have been intended as a novelty item for the 19th century home. The carcass is made from oak, on top of which are pale wood and walnut veneers that simulate book spines. Each spine features the title of a book including ‘Crums of Comfort’ and Ovid’s ‘The Art of Love’ volumes I and II. The sliding top spine reveals the caddy’s key-hole and features the mock book title ‘The Tea Table, A Poem’. Tea caddies of this form first appeared in Britain at the end of the 18th century, however the title ‘The Ladies’ Delight’ which appears on the back of the caddy, was written by Émile Zola in or after 1883, indicating that this caddy was most likely made after this date.