Shakespeare’s Mulberry wood carved oval Tea Caddy
Stamped under the lid by Sharp of Stratford-on-Avon
SOLD at The 2012 International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show, New York
ENGLAND, circa 1780
Height: 9cm (3.5 inches)
Width: 7.5cm (3 inches)
Length: 13cm (5 inches)
An oval tea caddy by Sharp of Stratford-on-Avon. Stamped under the lid. Carved from Shakespeare’s mulberry tree with silver rim and escutcheon.
In the mid-18th Century, the old mulberry tree that grew in Shakespeare’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon was cut down by a disgruntled neighbour. Timber from the tree was used by local craftsmen to make various carved objects and the neighbour was expelled from the town.
The crest on the tea caddy is that of the Cunninghame-Graham family of Gartmore House, Stirling. (An eagle displayed holding in his dexter talon a sword in pale proper.) It is most likely that the caddy belonged to Robert Graham, who extended Gartmore House in 1778-79. Gartmore House was built for Nicol Graham in the 1740s to a design by William Adam (Robert’s elder brother).
Thomas Sharp’s day and account books are in the Folger Library, US. The family had extensive connections with the US, being tobacco barons who imported from the US but also exported mulberry bushes to Virginia in the 18th century.