An image of a wooden box on a center post. The lid is open revealing two lidded drawers.
Teapoy in the Dining Room

Country of Origin: Likely Britain
Year: ca. 1880
Materials: Wood, brass, and lead 

The teapoy was invented at the beginning of the 19th century. Originally, teapoy’s were small earthenware containers or jars that sometimes had their own tables. Later they develop into a chest or cupboard.

This teapoy from the Eldon House collection, is made of wood and has a couple interesting features. On the front there is a lock. Teapoys were often kept locked as tea was an expensive commodity and the lady of the household would want to control its consumption.

The second interesting feature is on the inside. There are two cupboard for the loose leaf tea, and each one is lead lined! The Victorians believed that lead helped preserve the freshness of the tea and lined teapoys and other tea storage items! Luckily, the lead is in decent shape leading museum staff to believe that none of the Harris Family suffered from lead poisoning.