Often well figured wood was only enhanced with an edging and a small handle in the centre.
Stringing and cross banding were also effective elegant decorative devices.
Satinwood and other light coloured woods were used to veneer caddies destined to be painted.
Sometimes the whole caddy was covered in glass, which acted as a protection.
18th century papier mch caddies are exceptionally rare.
However fortunately the intricacy of the work makes restoration impossible and thus surviving examples have escaped the abuse of "re finishing". The controlled use of precious materials in simple shapes enhanced its natural beauty.
( All English caddies of this period were lined with a tin lead alloy "tea pewter" except the ones, which contained removable metal containers.
We find simply decorated caddies in well figured veneers such as partridge wood, satinwood, burr yew, hare wood flame or fiddle back mahogany and others. Extremely rare is the use of carving in strong classical designs.
Wooden caddies of this period were usually finished in wax and turpentine and good examples have built up a mellow rich patina.
Anglo-Indian ivory and Chinese export lacquer caddies were brought from the end of the 18th century.
However serious importation did not start until the beginning of the 19th century (SEE ANGLO-INDIAN and The Chinese caddies had removable soft metal containers, which were engraved with floral or oriental designs.
These provided the ladies of the time with a genteel pastime; they decorated them with rolled up pieces of paper in different patterns.
After being rolled up, the papers were cut in short lengths and stuck on the wooden frame.
Running one's hand across the wood one notices minute unevenness on the edges of inlays and edgings. Refinishing with glossy later hard polishes destroys the particular beauty of this early wooden surface.