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A Strong Oval 18th Century Tea Caddy in the Neo-classical Tradition. Circa 1790.

Please click on images to enlarge

Reference: TC103

Description:
An oval tea caddy veneered in hairwood with marquetry ovalhot sand shaded  inset decoration.

The symmetry of the decoration place the caddy in the neo-classical tradition of the late 18th century. The decoration is both robust and finely executed, making this an excellent example of the genre.  

 

Origin:     United Kigdom

Circa: 1790.

Materials:

Size: It measures  inches wide  by  inches deep and it is  inches  high including feet: cm wide by cm deep by cm high.

Condition:

 

A Strong Oval 18th Century Tea Caddy in the Neo-classical Tradition. Circa 1790. Enlarge Picture

The shell motif, which is in maple, is bold and sharp, with skillfully defined shading. This was done with hot sand, which gives a strong, yet natural-looking darkening to the areas which are meant to be overshadowed by the taller parts of the shell. This is an excellent example of such work, in which the design appears to be three dimensional on account of the mastery of the technique.

The green backgrounds, which allow for the grain of the wood to show through, give a lively tone to the whole composition.

 

Enlarge Picture lifeless rigidity of a wooden motif.

The top is decorated with a stylized sun flower. This motif with its symmetry and associations of the Sun God is strongly rooted in classicism. The sand shading is again done with consummate skill, only this time it is done more to give a pulse of life to the flower, rather than to suggest depth. The fine wavy lines suggest the fineness of the petals and lift the design out of the

Please click on images to enlarge

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The top is decorated with a stylized sun flower. This motif with its symmetry and associations of the Sun God is strongly rooted in classicism. 

 

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Please click on images to enlarge

The top is decorated with a stylized sun flower. This motif with its symmetry and associations of the Sun God is strongly rooted in classicism. Enlarge Picture

 

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The back has an inset strip, where the stress of the rounded wood needed relief.         

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The back has an inset strip, where the stress of the rounded wood needed relief.         

This is where the original craftsman joined the oval. the hinge was meant to help hold the complex curve together.

Such cracks are usual when art is applied to wood, which will continue to move as it inhales and exhales moisture.

 On the inside this crack, or joint opening has been supported by a series of cleats. this is a traditional way of strengthening glue joins used by luthiers.  

 

The caddy has the original hinge and lock. There is evidence of a missing separation inside and there are no lids. There is no attempt at relining the inside.

The carcass wood of the lid is pine.

The interlining strip of wood is an interesting feature. It helps to restrain moisture movement into and out of the caddy protecting the virtue of the valuable tea.

 

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The lock is interesting. It is typical of the time. It is simple without many wards and no tumbrels. The curve of the lock plate follows the curve of the oval box. This lock was made for the box.

And it still works after over 200 years.

 

Please click on images to enlarge

 

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Joint opening has been supported by a series of cleats.

On the inside back, where the joint is, there are three small re-enforcing strips of wood. These are later than the caddy and must have been placed there when the joint showed a tendency to open. There seems to be no movement in the caddy now.  

On the inside this crack, or joint opening has been supported by a series of cleats. this is a traditional way of strengthening glue joins used by luthiers.  

The breaking of this join is an indication of how far the original craftsman was prepared to push his art. 

Making an oval caddy was not easy. 

Bending the wood to this form would have required both heat and water.

The principle is that when wood is heated it can be brought slowly to  a shape when it becomes plastic. If it can be held while it cools to that shape it will retain it.

There are lots of photos they can be seen in higher resolution by clicking on them. They can be viewed as a slide show in higher resolution.

The felt on the underside is appropriate, but replacement 
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All text and images and linked images are 1999-2006 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email us at copyright@hygra.com