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Tea and Opium

 

 

Flame mahogany three compartment tea chest Circa 1830.

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Reference: TC535

Description:
TC535: Flame mahogany three compartment tea chest with tapering sides and having gadrooning to the top and the base and standing on turned feet. The side carrying handles are turned and carved. Inside there are three compartments containing two hinged lift out tea canisters and a central well with original deeply cut crystal sugar bowl. Circa 1830

Origin:  UK ; Circa: 1830;  Materials: mahogany.

Size: It measures 12.9 inches wide  by 6.9  inches deep and it is6.5  inches  high including feet:  32.8 cm wide by 17.5 cm deep by16.5 cm high.

Condition: good overall,  working lock and key,  see images.
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The form is of the second period of neoclassicism. It is inspired from structures excavated in Egypt and as such it combines strength with elegance. It is quite restrained with the top being straight which allows the the figure of the mahogany to remain uninterrupted. The monument inspired shape is suggested by the lines narrowing and the base which adds gravitas to the composition.   

Earlier versions of the tea chest like the one here tend to have well made canisters and carefully finished interiors. Furthermore they are structured with care.

Inside there are three compartments containing two hinged lift out tea canisters and a central well with original deeply cut crystal sugar bowl.

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The canisters out of the chest with the bowl.

 

The interior with the canister removed. The structure showing the careful construction with an extra wood lining and robust hinge.

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The well is lined with its original paper. There is some staining of the paper.

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 The inside of the lid is also veneered with  beautifully grained mahogany.

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 There are traces of the original leading in the canisters. The well is lined with its original paper.

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The cut crystal bowl is also exceptional.  It is probably Irish and and is much the same date as the chest. 

The tax on the weight of materials used in glass manufacturing in England and Scotland did not apply in Ireland until 1825. 

This resulted in the setting up of glassworks in various port towns in Ireland such as Waterford and Cork (1783)

 

 

 There is a small chip to the foot of the bowl

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The side showing the robust structure, softened by the curves of gadrooning and the handle carved as as abstraction of a daisy.

 

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 The side carrying handles are both turned and carved.

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The back which also shows the controlled beautiful profile of the chest.

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The view from the back with the lid open.

 

The underside.

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 The flame mahogany  has a rich deep colour. The patina is mellow. 

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All text and images and linked images are 1999-2011 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