This five-piece tea set produced by Wakely and Wheeler is designed in the Celtic Revival style, a movement that along with the art nouveau and arts and crafts, reignited the interest in naturalistic, Gaelic designs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the face of increased industrialisation many people looked to traditional artisan methods, which along with archaeological finds in Ireland of objects such as the Ardagh chalice and Tara brooch, formed a renewed sense of patriotism that inspired crafts people to turn to traditional and medieval ornament for design ideas. These designs were copied by major retailers such as Tiffany and Liberty’s and worn by notable figures such as Queen Victoria, popularising the style to an even wider audience.
The silversmithing firm Wakely and Wheeler has its roots in a company first established in 1791 by John Lias that with various partnerships became Wakely and Wheeler from 1884. Responding to current trends, many of their pieces followed the Celtic Revival fashion with items retailed across Britain.