Book Review: Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies & Society

Antique Boxes: Tea Caddies & Society, 1700-1880, by authors Antigone Clark and Joseph O’Kelly, is now available for enthusiasts of these irresistible objects.
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Boxes are objects that easily combine function with beautiful form. Antique Boxes - Tea Caddies & Society, 1700-1880 (Schiffer Books, 2018), by authors Antigone Clark and Joseph O’Kelly, is now available for enthusiasts of these “irresistible” objects.

Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies & Society, 1700-1880, 2nd Ed., by Antigone Clark & Joseph O’Kelly, 9” x 12”, hardcover w/dustjacket, Schiffer Publishing, schifferbooks.com, 2018, 384 pp., $95.

Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies & Society, 1700-1880, 2nd Ed., by Antigone Clark & Joseph O’Kelly, 9” x 12”, hardcover w/dustjacket, Schiffer Publishing, schifferbooks.com, 2018, 384 pp., $95.

The authors focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries because, as they explain in the introduction, “this particular period is a significant point in time in terms of the aesthetic and social history in the development of the box.” That is, we learn why boxes are important by placing them in their proper context.

The chapters in this big, impressive book for collectors, which exhibits more than 1,000 clear, relevant, fully captioned and identified images, are organized into three parts. The first chapters cover the history and influences that had an affect on the boxes created during the time covered. Such influences include the manufacturing innovations and expanding merchant activity. The second set of chapters deal with specific work, and the third considers boxes through the lens of their use.

“This book tries to deal with boxes not merely as lifeless objects, but as participants in a vibrant culture, which was responsible for their creation and which, in their turn, they enhanced.”

To address the practical subject of value: Values are based on what particular examples might fetch at “specialized collection auctions or special shows and retail establishments.” “This book tries to deal with boxes not merely as lifeless objets, but as participants in a vibrant culture, which was responsible for their creation and which, in their turn, they enhanced.”

To address the practical subject of value: Values are based on what particular examples might fetch at “specialized collection auctions or special shows and retail establishments.”

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