Picnic Tea Set by Aspreys
A leather case, marked Asprey, London containing all that is needed to serve tea for 4 people.
The case has rattan covered wire to hold all the various components in place whilst travelling with the saucer plates and cutlery held by leather straps to the inside of the lid. It has 4 cups and saucers by Mintons, 4 tea spoons marked Asprey Stainless, a knife marked B.M.Co, Sheffield Made, Firth Stainless, 4 napkins, 2 Thermos Flasks marked Auto Therm Patent, a glass flask and a Mintons jug and a sugar container that travel in the rectangular tin. The set is complete save for a key for the locks.
With the rise of the motor car, picnic and tea sets increased in popularity as it became easier to explore the countryside. This is a set in good condition by an exceptional maker. Early 20th Century.
Case size is given.
Asprey have been synonymous with luxury British goods for over a century and a half with their name now instantly recognizable for both top quality antiques and modern luxury goods.
The business was started by William Asprey in Mitcham, Surrey in 1781 as silk printers. In 1841, William's eldest son Charles joined in partnership with Francis Kennedy, a stationer at 49 New Bond Street to form Kennedy & Asprey. They described themselves as Stationers and Dressing Cases manufacturers in the trade directories. The partnership lasted 6 years and in 1847 the two went their own ways. Kennedy retained the 49 New Bond Street address and Asprey moved to 166 New Bond Street. The company note that since the split they have held the same address at 167. Although they have been at the same premises, the directories suggest that they did not add the property at number 167 until the end of the 19th century. The 1852 directory lists John Andrews, William Jones and Thomas Coakley, 2 booksellers and a stock broker, respectively at this 167 with Asprey next door at number 166. The 1880 directory has Bubb's Library at 167 New Bond Street.
The second half of the 19th century saw Asprey expand. In 1859 they took over Edwards who were box makers of renown both then and still today. They also bought 22 Albermarle Street which backed onto their premises. This gave them increased space and a second public entrance on another street. Leuchars, who were established in Piccadilly in 1794 were acquired in 1888 and by 1899 they added premises at 8 Sherwood Street as a manufactory. In 1911, they amalgamated with Gunn and Houghton who were based at 162 New Bond Street. The directories initially listed them as a separate company with the address given as 167 with Asprey premises given as 165, 166 & 167 New Bond Street.
Asprey manufactured and sold a wide range of luxury items from dressing cases and boxes to leather goods. The range of goods increased into the 20th century by employing jewellers, silver and goldsmiths as well as watch makers. This also led to commission work which increased their popularity with the world's wealthy from America to India.
The company is still going strong and regarded as a leading English brand of luxury items.