George II Antique Silver Tea Caddy


Stock: 10279

Date: 1758

Maker: Arthur Annesley

Country: England

A rare and highly original antique silver tea container in the chinoiserie style with applied architectural and naturalistic decoration. Excellent...

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A rare and highly original antique silver tea container in the chinoiserie style with applied architectural and naturalistic decoration. Excellent quality and workmanship. Heavy gauge silver. The body, with 4 bombe panels, has applied leaf mounts, all supported by 4 large Corinthian columns. The pull-off lid has a cross-legged Chinaman seated below a pagoda with Corinthian column supports and hanging bells.

361 grams, 11.6 troy ounces.
Total height 16.7cm. Width 8.9cm.
London 1758.
Maker Arthur Annesley.
Sterling silver.
18th century.

This tea box bears a marked similarity to the rococo condiment set on display in the V & A Museum in London. The condiment set, also made by Arthur Annesley, is based on John Linnell’s designs published in A New Book of Ornaments Useful for Silver-Smith’s etc by Gabriel Smith (1724-1783).

Marks. Stamped underneath with a full set of clear English silver hallmarks, lid with lion mark only.

Chinoiserie. The popularity of Chinoiserie emerged in the late 17th century as Europe became fascinated with the exotic East. Silverware of normal European forms was decorated with charming scenes representing Chinamen, birds and Chinese landscapes. The attraction of this silverware has continued in popularity across the centuries with many developments in the chinoiserie style decoration.

Read our article on Chinoiserie Silver

Literature. A Tea Caddy is a box, jar, canister, or other receptacle used to store tea. The word is believed to be derived from “catty”, the Chinese pound, equal to about a pound and a third avoirdupois. The earliest examples that came to Europe were Chinese tea canisters in blue and white porcelain with china lids or stoppers. Tea in the early 18th Century was expensive, and also there was a tax on tea, so early tea caddies were small and made in precious materials such as silver, shagreen or tortoiseshell which reflected the valuable contents within.



The box is in very good condition. Excellent quality with a clever little positioning catch which ensures that the lid always sits in the correct direction.

Maker Information

Maker: Arthur Annesley

Arthur Annesley, an intriguing 18th century London silver maker. No record of Annesley's apprenticeship or freedom. Only recorded maker's mark was entered as largeworker on 23 March 1758; four years later - bankrupt. No other record of silver bearing mark. He subsequently worked in Rotterdam. His unique and highly original condiment set is on display in the V & A museum, London. Based on John Linnell's design, published in A New Book of Ornaments Useful for Silver-Smith's etc by Gabriel Smith (1724-1783), the form and decoration of the vases demonstrate a highly imaginative interpretation of the Rococo style. A combination of Chinoiserie and naturalism in the pagoda-shape covers and applied plant and animal ornament. This set is the only known 18th-century silver to use Linnell's designs, although a coffee pot in the V&A (museum no. M.18-1981) made nearly 100 years later by Robert Garrard is after a Linnell design.

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