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Ivory Cut Steel Tea Caddy


Ivory Cut Steel Tea Caddy

Very rare octagonal tea caddy with faceted cut steel decoration and tortoiseshell edging. Features a painted plaque of a sweet young courting couple behind cut steel framed glass. The top has a silver looped handle, the interior is faced in tortoiseshell and contains a single floating lid with smaller silver handle. The tea caddy has a working lock and tasselled key.
The caddy is typically English due to its locks and hinges and not Russian like some in its style.  
Cut steel in the 1700s was famously produced in Woodstock, Oxfordshire using horseshoe nails. These were re-used to create beautiful polished, faceted studs. They were initially sold in London and the local area, but visitors to Woodstock quickly spread the word about the town’s high quality wares, and they were soon being exported to Russia and, later, France.  
Steel decoration evolved in Tula, Russia where steel was already being used to produce household items, accessories and ornaments. Tula steelwork was a favourite of Catherine the Great (1729-1796) who made it fashionable. It was used often in France, specifically to decorate souvenir boxes sold in the Palais Royal area of Paris in the early 1800s.  Objets decorated with cut steel would command high prices,  due to its intricate and labour intensive technique.  
In the late 1800s steelwork became a dying trade in Woodstock, and its production moved to London, Wolverhampton and the Birmingham area.

Important information below.

If you are purchasing Tortoiseshell or Ivory pieces and are outside the E.U. you must have a CITES certificate in order to import the item into your country. We can obtain these on your behalf at a cost of £50 and these can take up to 14 working days to arrive at our office . Due to the strict exporting rules of these pieces, they may also come with further shipping costs. Please ensure you contact us prior to purchase for a quote.
Material Ivory, Wood, Steel, Tortoiseshell
Age C. 1790