18th Century Papier Mâché Octagonal Tea Caddy by Henry Clay For Sale
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18th Century Papier Mâché Octagonal Tea Caddy by Henry Clay


Octagonal papier mâché tea caddy, decorated with classical figures and cherubs. Entwined diaper borders which are also repeated on the hinged, silvered-handled top. The Henry Clay tea caddy interior contains a floating silver handled inner lid. Complete with fully working lock and tasselled key. Provenance: Nolte Collection. Henry Clay was an assistant to one of the pioneers in papier mâché by the name of John Baskerville who started to imitate the highly polished items, that were being imported from Japan, using lacquered papier mâché. Which would become known as "japanning". By 1772 Clay had learned enough to start up his own business and in the same year patented a new process for making "paper ware" which involved sheets of paper being soaked in paste and pressed together on a plate. Once separated from the plate they were baked in a hot stove to remove any flexibility, whilst at the same time being coated in varnish or oil. The final product was used like wood, and once coated with colour and oils could be polished to a high shine. Around 1785 Henry Clay acquired a retail premises in London's Covent Garden. George III was one of his patrons by 1792 and Clay adopted the title "Japanner to His Majesty".


  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 4.75 in. x W 4.75 in. x D 3 in.

    H 12.07 cm x W 12.07 cm x D 7.62 cm

  • Seller location
    Northampton, GB
  • Reference number

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1stdibs seller since 2013
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Located in Northampton, GB
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