Tea strainers first appeared in the 1790s to replace the earlier ‘mote spoon’, which was used to remove any loose tea leaves floating in the cup. During the 19th century, strainers became an important piece of the tea drinking equipage, and although largely superseded by the invention of the teabag in the 1950s and 60s, elegant silver strainers were popular additions to the tea table throughout the 20th century for those who continued to use loose leaf.
This tea strainer and bowl is composed of two parts by different makers. While the strainer was produced by Wakely and Wheeler in 1928, the bowl was a later addition produced by the Nayler Brothers in 1931. 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. The strainer component is also stamped with The Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company, 112 Regent Street .W, a retailer established in 1880 by William Gibson and John Lawrence Langman. The Nayler Brothers were registered in London in 1909 working throughout the 20th century in a style often reminiscent of forms and shapes popular in the 17th century.