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James T. Woolley Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Tea Caddy, Boston, early 20th century

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This lovely, small tea caddy is beautifully executed and of very high quality. Made from heavy gauge silver, it is oval in form with applied bands around the base and shoulder of the body. It has the lightly hammered surface that is a trademark of Woolley's silver.

The removable cover has a slightly domed top which overhangs the applied band with rolled edge.

James Woolley's handmade silver is rarely seen on the market today. A highly talented silversmith, Woolley is one of only eight silversmiths to win the 'Medalist' designation, the highest honor bestowed by the Boston Society of Arts & Crafts. His work was featured in the Society's 1907 exhibition.(1)

Trained at Gorham, Woolley was an early convert to the movement and worked as a silversmith and jeweler. Early in his career, he shared bench space with the important arts and crafts silversmith George J. Hunt and set up his own shop in 1908.(2) Many of his best pieces are adaptations of colonial models.

This rare arts & crafts tea caddy is marked underneath with Woolley's trademark 'JW' and 'STERLING'. It measures 3.5 inches long by just shy of 2.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches high, weighs 6.20 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition with fire scale that is much less noticeable in person than in these photos.


  1. Karen Evans Ulehla, Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston Exhibition Record 1897-1927, (Boston: Boston Public Library, 1981).
  2. Allen H. Eaton, Handicrafts of New England, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949), p.241.