Victorian Papier-mâché……

J and B Tea CaddyUsed in China since 200 BC, papier-mâché, following the registration of his patent to produce laminated sheets of the material by Henry Clay of Birmingham in 1772, became widely used in the production of coach door panels. A further patent having been registered in 1847 by Theodore Jennens of the firm of Jennens and Bettridge, for steaming and pressing these sheets into various shapes, this subsequently led to the development of a whole industry, centred upon the English Midlands, manufacturing all sorts of goods, from boxes to large pieces of furniture.

Jennens and Bettridge had purchased Clay’s premises in 1816 and were to become the leading producers of such goods, starting a London branch in 1837 and later opening offices in Paris and New York. Items in good condition and stamped with their mark, such as the lovely Chinoiserie decorated tea-caddy here illustrated are today highly sought after by Collectors, on account of their fine quality and superb decoration.