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Burled Walnut Tea Caddy
Tea drinking was extremely popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was often a symbol of one's social status because it required the ownership of elaborate and sometimes expensive equipment. This included specialized tables, pots, pitchers, bowls, cups, saucers, tongs, spoons, stands, and boxes.
Early sarcophagus shaped caddies in various veneers relied on the form of the box and the richness of the figure for their aesthetic appeal. Some are built with panels sunk in a frame, edged with gadrooning.  In this case multi -colored woods create the effect. The whole structure is managed on architectural principles and the final result is strong and impressive.  The shape of the caddy was often enhanced by standing them on turned wooden feet . . . in this case the feet match the "gadrooning" on the top of the box. 
This elegant two compartment Tea Caddy served both a decorative and functional purpose. It has has two inner compartments which would have been used to hold tea and could be locked for security through the ivory shield shaped escutcheon. Made of finely grained burled walnut veneer these dormant buds create a sunburst effect in the wood when the wood is quarter sawn.  This is known as "Oyster Burl" and is quite lovely.
Size is 8-1/4" long x 5" wide across the top x 6" high.  It is very graceful in appearance and the use of the "Oyster" Burl makes this a very special and unusual piece.

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