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House Model Tea Caddy

This is a tea caddy. It is dated ca. 1870 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is various woods. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This house-form tea caddy represents the increasingly broad market for tea in 19th-century England combined with the fashion for medieval and Tudor architecture. Some of this architecture was called Shavian Queen Anne, so named for Richard Norman Shaw, the architect who popularized larger houses that blended Tudor and other later elements. The style, however, had little to do with early 18th-century Queen Anne architecture, but rather brought 19th-century scale to historic styles. The half-timbered style was used by Liberty and Company, a purveyor of many tea accessories, for its Regent Street shop during this era.
The tea caddy house has a roof that lifts to reveal two compartments for tea, a common practice in more elegant 18th-century tea caddies in England. This enabled the owner to show the sophistication of having two types of tea and combining them to taste or time of day. The glass bowl inside was for mixing the teas and is original. While tea had been a very expensive import during the 18th century, increased trade by the East India Company and increased wealth in Britain due to both the industrial revolution and trade enabled a broad spectrum of people to enjoy tea in the 19th century.
This model is one of a group of models proposed for acquisition. Models are an important part of the design process, and demonstrate craftsmanship, skill of execution, and the innovative use of materials. The group under consideration would provide the museum with an opportunity to examine the role of the model in many contexts.

This object was donated by Eugene V. Thaw and Clare E. Thaw. It is credited Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw.

  • Tea Caddy (England)
  • rolled, cast and chased silver.
  • Gift of Gerald G. Stiebel and Penelope Hunter-Stiebel.
  • 2013-49-30

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 30.5 x 34.3 x 31.8 cm (12 in. x 13 1/2 in. x 12 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

House Model Tea Caddy; England; various woods; H x W x D: 30.5 x 34.3 x 31.8 cm (12 in. x 13 1/2 in. x 12 1/2 in.); Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw; 2013-3-6-a/f

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Virtue in Vice.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=House Model Tea Caddy |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 November 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>