THE STORY OF THE CADDY SPOON C.1775-2015
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first Exhibition staged by
The Society of Caddy Spoon Collectors
While tea was popular in China as long ago as the 7th century A.D. it was to take another 1000 years before it started to arrive at great expense for rich European connoisseurs. It was kept under lock and key in a box known as a Caddy, a name derived fro the Malay ‘Kati’.
Although other tea paraphernalia existed, it was not until the 1770s that a purpose made utensil was devised to transport tea from the caddy to the teapot.
This Exhibition traces the development of these beautiful and collectable objects from their introduction in the 1770s to the present day. The wide range of designs and materials used will be displayed and it is intended that examples that are widely available to the collector are accompanied by some rare specimens.
The majority of the spoons shown will be made of silver – sometimes embellished with gilding, enamel, niello and plique a jour decoration. Others will be Old Sheffield Plate and other plated pieces. Examples in porcelain, gold, ivory, pottery, glass, treen, mother of pearl, tortoiseshell and other materials will also be on display.
This is a collectable field and the attractions of a spoon may be a reflection of its beauty and/or rarity. Thus a plain spoon by a Scottish provincial maker will be highly desirable.
While the majority of the spoons shown will be British, befitting our tea drinking heritage, other countries in Europe and beyond will be represented.
The evolution of styles and shape will be indicated, from the early shell bowl forms utilising Oriental influences, through designs mirroring the flatware designs and fashions of the day. Fanciful shapes, such as the Eagle’s Wing and Jockey Cap can be observed.
Famous silversmiths and craftsmen of each period, devoted time and energy to the production of these small objects. As the 20th century loomed, caddy spoon design followed the Artistic Movements of the period from Art Nouveau to Arts & Crafts and Art Deco. Famous names like Omar Ramsden, Liberty, A.E.Jones and H.G. Murphy all designed spoons in Britain, while Georg Jensen (Denmark) and David Andersen (Norway) were famed on the continent. In the U.S.A. Tiffany and Gorham produced a stream of high quality spoons.
Traditional forms of caddy spoons continued to be made and regional differences are exampled by decorative pre-Revolution spoons from Russia.
In the post-war years caddy spoons continued to attract attention from silversmiths, sometimes for commemorative purposes. Thus fine work can be observed from Stuart Devlin, Alex Styles and Gerald Benney, among others. The Society of Caddy Spoon Collectors has commissioned several spoons during the last 40 years, the most recent designed by Malcolm Appleby and enamelled by Jane Short.
Today there is ample evidence that the art of the designer-silversmith is flourishing. The fact that many of us now use tea bags and the utilitarian function of the caddy spoon has decreased, has not led to its demise. The caddy spoon remains a delightful, small expression of craftsmanship and inventiveness. Examples by contemporary silversmiths will be on view.
Research is ongoing, and some examples of attribution and re-attribution of makers since our first exhibition in 1965 will be shown.