LUNA: Folger Digital Image Collection
Digital Image File Name:
Source Call Number:
Wood no. 11
Tea caddy with carved portraits of Shakespeare. Mulberry wood, late 18th or 19th century
Tea caddy surmounted with carving of mulberry leaves and berries, wrongly attributed to Thomas Sharp
from a 35mm color slide
Source Created or Published:
18th or 19th century
Digital Image Type:
HAMNET CATALOG RECORD:
[Tea caddy surmounted with carving of mulberry leaves and berries] [realia]
Place of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
Date of Creation or Publ. (Hamnet):
18th or 19th century]
Physical Description (Hamnet):
1 tea caddy : mulberry tree wood ; 6 1/2 in. tall, 11 in. wide, 6 7/8 in. deep.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Portraits.
Certification: from correspondence in caddy, now cataloged as Y.c.1415, and from auction catalog Nov. 2, 1905, lot no. 159 which is described above. See Mrs. Folger's card file under Mulberry.
Condition reviewed 19881100 pieces of the mounted carvings have become loosened from the box. 2 of these pieces are in the middle chamber. Front of box has become loose-jointed at the right. In addition to the area on the bottom of the box which appears to have been scraped away with a knife, the underside has a small abrasion, 4 cracks on the left side reading front to back, 1/2", 3/4", 4 1/4" 1/2", and 2 losses. A white residue is in larger loss, around the back feet, and in carving which extends under the back of the box
This record contains unverified data from a re-keying contract and may contain incorrect or incomplete text. Please consult Curator for assistance.
Bombe box, surmounted with a natural carving of mulberry leaves and berries, arranged symmetrically, has a cartouche with bust of Shakespeare after the Chandos image on the center front. The curb-hipped lid has a cartouche with Shakespeare's coat of arms on center of lid. A tongue-shaped molding edges the flat part of the lid; the egg and dart pattern edges the top of the curb. The lid is lined with dark green velvet and is trimmed with bands of silver ribbon. It has a silver handle and is attached to box with 2 silver hinges. The 3-chambered caddy is lined with thin sheet tin. Each chamber is protected with a sliding panel with a relief carving that differs in style from the exterior carving. The center panel is carved after the image of the Poets' Corner statue in Westminster Abbey and is mounted with a white enamel scroll with quotation from The Tempest, IV, 1, "The cloud capt [i.e. capped] towers/...Shall dissolve,/And like the ceaseless,/Fabrick of a vision/ [i.e. And, like this insubstantial pageant faded] Leave not a wreck [i.e. rack] behind." Brackets indicate text as it appears in the Neilsen-Hill edition of Shakespeare, 1942. The side panels have a single mulberry tree carved on each one. The lid panels are a light color; the outer box has a dark stain. There is a keyhole, upper front, above the portrait of Shakespeare, no escutcheon.
Provenance: From the library of Frederick S. Tallmadge. Sold by Anderson Auction co., N.Y. HCF bought of Geo. D. Smith, N. Y. Receipt in HCF's file, Booksellers, Bills and Receipts, Nov. 4, 1905. Anderson traced provenance, "Mr. Tallmadge purchased it at the sale of the effects of William E. Burton. The comedian bought it from Henry [i.e. Horatio] Rodd, the noted...bookseller...about 1851." In correspondence, Y.c.1415, a.l.s. from H. Rodd to W.E. Burton states, "I have not heard from Mr. John Webb of whom I got the caddy." See letter dated June 18, 1851, under continuation of June 20. Dictionary of National Biography has entry for a John Webb, 1776-1869, "...traced descent to Shakespeare's kindred. Anderson's catalog states, "This tea-caddy is an undoubted genuine relic, having Sharp's [i.e. Thomas Sharp] own stamp on it..." Mark is not visible, Bottom of box has area, 1" x 2", which appears to have been scraped with a knife suggesting that a mark was removed. The carving on and inside the ox does not compare with known works by Thomas Sharp.
Call Number (Hamnet):
Wood no. 11