Tea-drinking first took off in the West in the late 17th century and in its wake came a whole host of paraphernalia associated with the consumption and storage of the beverage.
This included teapots in which to make it and teabowls from which to drink it, caddy spoons to measure it out, small wooden tables on which to set the utensils, as well as caddies or canisters for storing the leaves, elaborately inlaid wooden boxes to hold those containers or a special bowl in which the different varieties could be mixed.
Next month London ceramics dealers Stockspring Antiques turn their attention to the tea trade and to the tea canister in particular, when they present a loan exhibition featuring over 180 different examples. The aim is to trace the canister’s stylistic development from a luxury container for a luxury product in the 17th century to a more utilitarian below-stairs object once tea became more affordable in the early 19th century.
On show will be a few 17th and 18th century silver examples to show the origins of the canister form but the bulk of the exhibits will be ceramic:- pieces in Chinese porcelain made for export to the West, canisters from the main porcelain-producing factories in England and continental Europe plus a comprehensive selection of English pottery canisters. All are on loan from private collections.
The exhibition runs at Stockspring Antiques 114 Kensington Church Street, London W8 from March 4-16 and has a fully illustrated monograph priced at £22 to accompany it. There is also a lecture on March 13 by Geoffrey Godden.
Phone 020 7727 7995 for further details.
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