Anyone for Tea ?
Although Tea has become a British institution, the first tea in Britain didn't arrive until the mid 17th century. The Chinese had been drinking tea since three thousand years BC.
When tea arrived it very soon became the fashionable drink of choice. Ladies would serve tea personally to their guests rather than letting a servant do the task.
Tea was a very expensive commodity and therefor had to be stored in a dry and secure container. Thus began the development of the Tea Caddy. As tea was so highly prized the boxes made to contain it became beautifully decorated lockable storage. Some lacquered pieces being imported from China along with tea. The picture illustrates one from China containing the original cannisters.
As teas came from different plants and and had differing flavours the development of a caddy with two compartments and and a mixing bowl came around, this enabled the hostess to mix two teas to the desired strength and flavour in the central glass bowl.
In the early 19th century the Caddy had a further development and a large caddy would be mounted on a column with a tripod base, thus becoming an item of furniture to stand by the hostess while preparing tea, - the name for this new piece was a 'Teapoy'.
The design of caddies has so many variations that the collecting of them can become an engrossing hobby.
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