George III Antique Silver Tea Caddy
Maker: Richard Morton
A very elegant antique silver tea caddy of oval form with a hinged lid, lock and key. Beautifully hand engraved...
A very elegant antique silver tea caddy of oval form with a hinged lid, lock and key. Beautifully hand engraved with flower and swag decoration. Bead borders. The lid has a flush inset hinge and ring top.
Weight 332 grams, 10.6 troy ounces.
Top 12.2 x 8cm. Height 8.7cm.
Maker Richard Morton & Co.
Marks. Stamped on the back of the box with a full set of English silver hallmarks.
Literature: 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.
Some of the earliest silver examples have sliding bases (or tops) and the cap was used for measuring the tea. By the mid eighteenth century matching sets were available, with two caddies (for green and black tea) and a sugar bowl, all fitted into a wooden or shagreen case, often with silver mounts. During the late 1700’s the locking silver tea caddy was introduced with its own key which the lady of the house kept on the chatelaine around her waist. Double locking tea caddies in silver are rare.
The box is in very good condition. The engraving is crisp. The hinge is in working order, the lock needs attention.
Maker: Richard Morton
Richard Morton was one of the few Sheffield manufacturers who produced silverware prior to the establishment of the Sheffield Assay Office. He is recorded as a working silversmith in 1768 in partnership with William Clayton. His mark “RM” was entered on 16th September 1773, possibly in partnership with John Winter. A fortnight later the two marks “R.M” and “RM & Co” were entered by Richard Morton, Thomas Warris, John Winter, Samuel Roberts, John Elam, Thomas Settle, John Eyre and Nathaniel Smith. It is on record that this firm was not to produce silver candlesticks, that branch of the trade being reserved for John Winter. There may well have been covenants as to non-production of certain other items as all of the partners except Morton and Warris also comprised the partnership of Samuel Roberts & Co. who registered their mark on the same day. The Assay Office day-books show that John Winter & Co. produced buckles as well as their main product of candlesticks, the latter being the sole output of their successors John Parsons & Co. Samuel Roberts & Co's main output was silver handles, but they too produced candlesticks. Richard Morton & Co. manufactured a wide range of products, but noticeably not candlesticks, buckles or silver handles.
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