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18th Centaury tea caddy the top inlaid with marquetry depicting a hermit-crab. Circa 1790. 

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Reference: TC536

Description:
TC536:  Late 18th Century mahogany two compartment tea caddy edged and faced  with boxwood and inlaid to the top with an oval marquetry medallion depicting   a conch shell  unusually occupied by a hermit-crab.   Circa 1790. 

Origin: UK;  Circa: 1790;  Materials: mahogany  on a pine carcass.

Size: It measures  7.2 inches wide  by 4.3 inches deep and it is  4.9 inches  high: 18.2 cm wide by 11 cm deep by 12.5 cm high.

Condition: good overall,  working lock and key,  see images.
As each person has different criteria and antiques by their very nature have wear  please enlarge the images and ask for extra information as needed. 

TC536: Late 18th Centaury mahogany two compartment tea caddy edged and faced  with boxwood and inlaid to the top with an oval marquetry medallion depicting   a conch shell  unusually occupied by a hermit-crab.   Circa 1790.  Enlarge Picture

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 Front view.   

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Side view.

 

Other side.

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The inlaid shell  is shaded with the hot sand  method which darkens the light wood without the need of stain. This gives a more natural and subtle result.  

Unusually the conch shell is occupied by a hermit crab giving it a quirky liveliness'. 

The detailed cutting of the pattern makes this an excellent example of such marquetry.

 

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The shell is reminiscent of Britania's then rule of the waves. I can only surmise the metaphoric meaning of the hermit-crab. 

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The underside is covered in more recent baize.

 

View of the interior. The inside of the lid was lined with the same foil as the lower part and it retains much of it.

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 The inside of the caddy has remnants of two periods of lining the leaded paper lining is probably mid 19th C. There are traces of the 18th C lead  foil beneath. The lids have the earlier lining.

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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