View Full Version : When Whimsical Anti-Theft Tea Caddies Protected the World's Most Precious Leaf

02-04-2018, 10:47 AM
When Whimsical Anti-Theft Tea Caddies Protected the World's Most Precious Leaf (ARTICLE LINK) (https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/antique-tea-caddies/)


Image: This pink grouping includes Chinese exports and European caddies, mostly from the 18th century.


On December 16, 1773, when Samuel Adams and his fellow Sons of Liberty boarded three British East India Company-flagged ships to hurl 340 chests of Camellia sinensis—worth almost $2-million today—into Boston Harbor, tea was already an expensive commodity worldwide. But what offended Adams was not the price of tea itself so much as the fact that taxes had been levied on these precious leaves without the consent of England’s increasingly independence-minded Colonists. It was that act, taxation without representation, that helped bring a brewing revolution to a full boil.

Because the price of tea was so dear in the 18th century, homemakers in the Old and New Worlds alike stored their green and black teas in special containers made of porcelain,sterling silver,and lead-lined wood, some of which were fitted with locks. Several centuries later, these tea caddies, along with ones that followed them in the 19th and 20th centuries, became the obsession of a modern homemaker named Marnie Bramble, who collected more than 400 tea caddies from China, England, Europe, and the United States. One of Marnie’s three sons, thrice Tony Award-nominated producer, writer, and director Mark Bramble, became an ally in his mom’s passion for these slope-shouldered and fruit-shaped forms, filling in holes in her collection during his travels. Since Marnie’s passing in 2015, Mark has overseen the care of his mother’s caddies, occasionally adding to the horde, and recently he wrote a book about them for Schiffer Publishing called, simply,A Tea Caddy Collection.

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02-04-2018, 11:50 AM
I have a fondness for the wooden tea caddies that were made in the colonial years. They aren't as ornate, but they do represent good woodworking skills and design.

This is a reproduction, or maybe it's the antique that was used as the model for a common reproduction: