Beautiful Regency mahogany tea caddy made in England circa 1810-1820. The caddy is mounted with a brass lock and comes with original key.
The caddy is 11,5 cm high, 20,5 cm long and 11,5 cm large.
The earliest tea caddies were bottle-shaped vessels made, like their contemporary tea bowls and saucers, and saucers, of porcelain imported from China, and the tea was measured out at the table from their cup-shaped lids. They were in fact known as tea bottles or tea jars, the word caddy being adopted much later, towards the end of the 18th century. The word comes from the Malay/Chinese word Kati, denoting a measure of tea weighing about 1 1/3lbs, and the single-compartment wooden boxes holding approximately this weight and made from the 1780s onwards were the first to become known as tea caddies.
From the early 18th century lockable trunk-shaped tea boxes were known as tea chests, and this was the term generally used until the late 18th century. Each chest would contain a set of two or three canisters-of wood, pewter, silver, enamel or glass. While the two outer canisters in a set of three were for two different kinds of tea (usually green and black) it is now generally accepted that the middle container (which is often of a different size) was for sugar, another expensive commodity.