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Thomas Chippendale in his 1764 The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director produced a plate CLIX entitled ‘Six Designs for Tea Chests’. Taking tea in the 18th century was a ritual and social occasion – both tea and sugar, imported into England, were very expensive and so deserved to be kept not only under lock and key, but also in highly decorative caskets which could be produced at tea, and from which the tea could be dispensed. Tea chests often housed two different types of tea, and also either a container for sugar, or a cut-glass mixing bowl with which to mix the tea varieties before serving. The plainer chests were simply fitted with lead-lined caddy-boxes, the more luxurious with elaborate and extremely costly engraved silver caddies. Tea chests were made in all sorts of precious materials including ivory, shagreen, porcelain and tortoiseshell.
Tea chests in either plain or carved mahogany, in particular in casket form, would have been typical of Thomas Chippendale’s work in providing fashionable high quality accessories to his clients. He is believed to have supplied a fine pair of tea-caddies to Lord Dumfries for Dumfries House .
Inspiration for the handle on this chest can be clearly seen in the Director plate CXCIV – (despite it displaying designs ‘of borders for Paper Hanging’) and also in ‘Designs of Handles for Brass Work’ (plate CXCIX).
|Height||16.00 cm||(6.30 inches)|
|Width||25.00 cm||(9.84 inches)|
|Depth||14.00 cm||(5.51 inches)|
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