Tea caddy featuring David Garrick

Tea caddy featuring David Garrick

This silver tea caddy celebrates two of the cultural rages of the 18th century, tea and the theatre. Tea was then an expensive commodity and had to be locked away from servants in the 'tea-chest'. The word caddy (a corruption of 'kati', a Malay word for a weight of just over 1lb) did not replace tea-chest until the last quarter of the 18th century. The boxes were often made from precious materials, reflecting the value placed on the tea they contained. Caddies were made of a wide range of materials including exotic woods, ivory, silver, gold and tortoiseshell, and were prominently displayed by their proud owners.

This tea caddy represents the great actor David Garrick (1717-1779) and members of his company in famous roles such as Macbeth and King Lear.