Maker: George Austin
A better cut of mahogany has been used for the top of this Decanter and Tea Caddy Box to that for the sides, as it would be seen the most when closed. The grain has more movement and the colour is richer.
This box is brass bound with flush carrying handles and similar to the one illustrated in British Campaign Furniture. It is typical of George Austin of Dublin to put his name to the escutcheon and the lock plate and the shaped brass corners to the top are also to the same design seen on other Austin Decanter Cases. Added to this there is a printed green label to the underside of the tea caddy giving Austin's Dressing Case Manufactory details, address of 6 & 7 St. Andrew Street and noting that he supplied The Vice Regal Court. This is Austin's earlier address and he worked there from around 1840 to 1861 when he had moved to Westmoreland Street and been joined by his son. It is possible to question whether brass bound decanter boxes were always bought with travel in mind or some just appealed for their look. This one was definitely conceived to be used for travel because it has the dual purpose of housing both spirits and tea. There are four bottles, a caddy and a mixing bowl. Domestically you would use separate boxes but when travelling it would be very convenient to have both together. Such dual purpose boxes are rare, aside from the other Austin example we have only seen one other, by an unknown maker. Circa 1850.