Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies & Society 1700-1880 by Antigone Clarke & Joseph 0’Kelly, published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd, distributed by Bushwood Books, 6 Marksbury Avenue, Kew Gardens, Surrey TW9 4JF. ISBN 0764316885 £69.95hb

TEA caddies and antique boxes continue as collectors’ favourites, and this well-written and illustrated book (887 colour photos) with a dollar price guide by two London-based authors – Antigone Clarke has been dealing in boxes for 30 years and Joseph O’Kelly restores old string instruments – delves into the history of caddies and boxes along with the people who inspired, made and used them.

As the introduction has it: “This book tries to deal with boxes not merely as lifeless objects but as participants in a vibrant culture which was responsible for their creation and which in their turn they enhanced.”

Very thorough in its coverage of the form, decoration and purpose of 18th and 19th century boxes, which covers papier-maché, painted, penwork, tortoiseshell, straw work, Oriental lacquer, Scottish and Irish, Tunbridgeware boxes, card boxes, dressing boxes and the popular sewing boxes or workboxes and much else. The photography is a dream.