A very rare, early tea chest in walnut,
extensively inlaid with fine pique work and engraved mother of pearl. To the front of the chest are three oval panels depicting the three Roman holy martyrs, FIDES, SPES, CHARITAS (Faith, Hope and Charity). To the bottom left of Fides is a small circular panel engraved: S.F. fecit (made by S.F.) and to the bottom right of Spes is: ‘Anno Domini 1631’. Contained within are two removable tea caddies, each made of mahogany, constructed with dovetail joints, the lids sliding to reveal a tin lined compartment. Believed to be of Portuguese, Dutch or Italian origin, where, in the early 17th century, the drinking of tea was more commonplace, not becoming popular in England until the mid 17th century. European, circa 1631.