23/02/17: Tea caddy research.

Before I look into the packaging designs of Harney and Sons and Whittard, I would like to gather a bit of research on tea caddies/storage throughout time. This research could give me some insight as to whether todays designs are a reflection of the past or not. 

Here are the sources I have used below:

Home Things Past. (n.d.). Tea Caddies. Retrieved from: http://www.homethingspast.com/tea-caddies/

McKinley, D. (2010). The Early History of the English Tea Caddy. Retrieved from: http://www.ascasonline.org/articoloMAGGI128.html

Gebely, T.  (2015, February 17). The Six Immutable Laws of Tea Storage. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.worldoftea.org/how-to-store-tea/

These sources continue to discuss that the  growing popularity of Londons Coffee Houses (popular throughout the 17th-18th century) were a key influence and opening avenue to the nations ability to taste and discover their love of tea.

According to the source, ‘Home Things Past’, ‘…tea was kept in porcelain jars that had travelled with it from China. Storage for tea became more and more varied once people were able to buy the leaves to brew at home. They had to be wealthy. Tea was so expensive that it was protected from pilfering. One pound (450g) could cost more than a skilled workman’s weekly wage. By 1700 well-to-do households had lockable wooden tea chests holding canisters full of the precious leaves. The lady of the house kept the key, and servants had no access.’

Decorative canisters were developed in China for sale to the European market as seen here to the right. These were not the normal mode for tea storage; instead wooden caddy boxes with compartments for canisters were used to lock away the precious, expensive leaves. Throughout the 17th-18th century, the ‘caddy’ became a renowned design object as silversmiths began to produce rectangular and cylindrical shaped objects which reflected the wealth and status of tea drinking. After having inspected the designs of various 17th-18th C tea caddies, I can see how Harney and Sons and Whittard have drawn specific design elements and principles from the past and incorporated these ideas into their modern designs today.


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