Boxes, Caddies and Caskets

An ever-useful object, antique boxes and tea caddies can speak a language of not just beauty, but practicality too.

Spanning millennia, it would be difficult to choose a period in which to discuss the evolution of the antique box. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries make an interesting starting point of observation, as this particular period is significant in the development of design from a societal and aesthetic point of view.

The eighteenth century was a time when the aesthetic took equal precedence to the practical – an increasing market for beautiful objects, caskets, and caddies (now readily available to the larger-spread middle and upper classes, all of whom were now developing a discerning and evolving taste for finery) drove innovation in box, chest, casket and tea caddy design and manufacturing.

England, being at the forefront of manufacturing and craftsmanship at this time (partly due to its aggressive trading practices, and partly due to rapid development in industrialisation) made leaps in woodworking – Sir Samuel Bentham (c.1791) patented machines for planing, moulding, rebating, grooving, mortising and sawing. These innovations in production made exquisitely designed and crafted pieces available to a newly discerning, wider audience.

Nicholas Wells Antiques offers a plethora of antique boxes, in diverse materials including ebony, bronze, leather, agates, tortoiseshell, and lacquer dating not just from this age of innovation, but earlier and later periods – a cumulation of the finest examples from around the world, including (but not limited to) antique boxes from India and China, alongside European and Middle Eastern.

What makes the team here unique, is a collective knowledge base of the antique industry, and Nicholas Wells’s diversity of offerings. The collection comprises a wide range of antique boxes and accessories, that can be used for decorative or practical purposes, as well as investment. If you are considering acquiring museum-quality antique boxes for your collection, the team are at your disposal – we look forward to assisting you in your search.



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