Description and Details
We are delighted to offer this wonderful full set of George II solid silver tea caddies, made by a Huguenot silversmith - Peter (Pierre) Gillois in London, 1759.
Being made by a Huguenot silversmith, the overall quality, design and intricacy of the tea caddies are very much to be desired. For more information on Huguenots, their legacy and prestige in silverware, please do refer to the following link whereby the video "Part 1" at around the 5:50/9:50 minute mark explains this topic thoroughly (Click Here).
The entire set consists of the following parts:
- x2 Tea caddies
- x6 Teaspoons
- x1 Sugar Tong
- x1 Mote Spoon
- x1 Shagreen Caddy Case Box
All the silver components of the set are made in traditional George II form with a high polish and unembellished 'mirror-like' design. The pair of caddies feature a wonderful 'bombé' form with timeless and exquisite gadrooned decorations on the lid and bottom edges.
The teaspoons, mote spoon and sugar tongs are also contemporary (made in the same age) by a separate maker to Gillois (whose works specialised in tea caddies).
The accessories are monogrammed on the handles with the initials "MH" and "DB" on the tongs.
The interior of the Shagreen caddy case is lined with a dark green velvet material that protects the caddies. The exterior of the case is in fairly poor condition with some losses of screws, a non-locking top and some loose feet - as such, we would only recommend the exterior box as part of decoration and display rather than a practical carrying solution.
The pair of caddies are fully hallmarked on the base with the maker's mark also being stamped on the lid.
The accessories are also hallmarked, however, due to the wear, we have not been able to make out the exact dates/makers.
History of Tea Caddies...
Tea was introduced to England from China in the middle of the 17th Century and was very highly valued. Due to its expensive nature, tea was only available to the very wealthy who subsequently stored it in valuable containers such as fine wooden boxes and silver canisters.
It was often that these wealthy families would have employed maids and in order to prevent theft, such caddies were also stored in the lockable cases/boxes as was the case with this set.
Though today, it would appear absurd to worry over lost tea leaves, due to the extremely high value in the past and the unnoticeable nature of the theft (if only a few grams were taken little by little), such designs came to be implemented. Perhaps an analogy for today would be if solid gold powder was stored whereby one would not notice a small amount being taken, yet such loss would eventually add up to a large sum over time.
As mentioned in the contents section above, the tea caddy pair is of different size, one being smaller than the other. It is said that the purpose for such design has much to do with its uses/user who would have offered two different types of tea - most commonly black and green tea and in doing so, it would make it easier to differentiate between the two. Additional evidence suggests that sometimes (with three canister sets), the larger canister was used for storing sugar which was equally expensive and valuable in those times.
In addition to the caddies, the accessories would thus assist in the use and experience when drinking tea - though the teaspoons and sugar tongs are very much the same today, one interesting and no longer used utensil is the mote spoon which was used to remove tea leaves after it was poured into the cup, with the other pointy end being used to remove leaf blockages in the spout of the teapot.
- Large Caddy Size (mm) L:93mm W:75mm H:145mm - 288 grams/10.1oz
- Small Caddy Size (mm) L:83mm W:65mm H:125mm - 278 grams/9.8oz
- Large Caddy Size (inch) L:3.66 W:2.95 H:5.70
- Small Caddy Size (inch) L:3.26 W:2.55 H:4.92
- Teaspoons L:105mm/4.13inch - 47g/1.7oz
- Mote Spoon L:125mm/4.92inch - 8g/0.3oz
- Sugar Tongs L: 110mm/4.33inch - 35g/1.2oz
- Shagreen Case L:225mm/8.85inch W:115mm/4.52inch H:170mm/6.69inch
Good (Restored) Condition - The entire set is in good overall antique condition. For accuracy: there are some very fine nicks on the surface, possibly a restoration done to the base of the smaller caddy and one small hairline crack on one of the feet - this does not affect the usage as there are no wobbles or issues.
Please note we have photographed this in the last image and always try to over-emphasize the issues in the photos/condition report than the actual item. The above is mentioned for accuracy and in actual display and usage, it is very minor and difficult to notice.
Note; It is probable that due to the rarity, significance and value of Huguenots' works, especially as a pair, even with some restoration, the past owners of this magnificent set have kept the item 'alive' for over 262+ years without it being melted down, scrapped or in similar unfortunate fates.
Please refer to the photographs to examine the condition in further detail and in any case of questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to serve you.
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*Colours of the product may slightly differ from the photos due to different computer screens & lighting conditions*
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