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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Tea Caddies and Tea
Tea Caddies and Tea



Penwork Tea Caddy With Classical Scene, Circa 1815.
Tea caddy decorated with a repetitive design of stylized foliage enclosing anthemia, the sides with acanthus leaves and seed heads. The center of the top depicts an ever young Bacchus and a Bacchante, riding on a chariot. The caddy, which demonstrates an accurate understanding of the ancient myth, dates characteristically from the time of the English bon viveur, the Regency. 

11.5 wide. 

Circa 1810-20. 

 This particular composition refers to the expedition of Bacchus to the East, when he headed an army of men and women inspired with divine fury. They were armed with thyrsi and musical instruments. Note the thyrsus resting on the chariot and the tambourine held by the Bacchante. On this expedition, the Bacchic chariot was drawn by a lion and a tiger, as on the picture. Accompanied by Pan, Silenus and Satyrs, Bacchus conquered without bloodshed, as the people joyfully embraced his cult of the pleasures of life and accepted him as a God. Worship of Bacchus spread from Egypt to Greece and Rome. His main attribute, that of a wine Godhead, is symbolized on this box by the vine bush sprouting from the ground, the basket of grapes and the wine amphora.

Front and side.

Corner detail showing several classical motifs. The treatment of the acanthus on the sides is particularly robust.

Inside view. The lids are convex and the acanthus follow the shape. The paper is original. The bowl is not original. It is hand blown in the traditional way.  

Detail showing the curved lid and the bowl surround.

Original leaded interior.

For the historical context of this caddy read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.
We have written a highly illustrated book on Antique Boxes and Tea caddies which is being published by Schiffer Books USA. This tea caddy has been specially photographed for inclusion. 

  © 2002 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly