The earliest Dutch tea caddies were made mainly in the secondary production centres, like for example Haarlem and some of the Frisian towns. In the mayor cities people seem to have preferred to store tea in porcelain or earthenware caddies. Early silver tea caddies from Amsterdam are very rare.
Hendrik Swierinck (b. 1693-d. after 1767, master 1726) was undoubtedly capable of keeping up with the latest fashion, as may be illustrated by the pair of wall-sconces Swierinck made in 1745. The decoration of these sconces heralds the Rococo style in Amsterdam silver (Lorm, J.R. de, op. cit.). The present caddy was made in 1754 and must have seemed somewhat old-fashioned at that time. Stylistically the caddy resembles work from the 1720s and 1730s. See for example two tobacco boxes made by Swierinck in 1730 and 1731 (Sales Christie's Amsterdam 26 May 1998, lot 428 and 6 December 2000, lot 386). Identical feet were applied on a brazier which Swierinck made in 1729 (see: Exh. cat. Meesterwerken in zilver, Amsterdam, Museum Willet-Holthuysen, 1984, nr. 108).
Although tea caddies have survived in quite a large number, this type of caddy is very rare. A comparable example was made by Groningen silversmith Arnoldus van Essen in 1750/51 (Verbeek, J., 1982, op. cit, pp. 553-554; Verbeek, J., 1988, op. cit., pp. 20-21).
For comparative literature:
Lorm, J.R. de, Amsterdams Goud en Zilver, Zwolle, Amsterdam, 1999, p. 110, no. 54.
Verbeek, J. "De zilveren theebus in de Noordelijke Nederlanden voor 1750" in: Antiek 16, 1982, pp. 552-557.
Verbeek, J. Nederlands Zilver 1725-1780, Lochem, 1988, pp. 19-21.