Monday, November 18, 2013

Shakespeare's Tea Caddy, If Shakespeare Drank Tea, Which He Did Not.

{ Tea Caddy from Shakespeare's Very Own Mulberry Tree. }

Shakespeare did not drink tea.

No, no, I kid you not. Unless you believe conspiracy theories that make the writers of his plays into Roger Bacon, or Francis Bacon, or Kevin Bacon, we know a man named William Shakespeare died in 1616. The United Kingdom never saw tea until 1658, and it wasn't until 1665 that the East India Company started importing it to the UK.

NEVERTHELESS, once upon a time, a certain Shakespeare fellow planted a mulberry tree. A century or so later, the Most Reverend Francis Gastrell purchased New Place at Stratford-Upon-Avon and was so overwhelmed by annoying fanboys wanting to see the tree that he decided to chop it down and burn the corpse. Of the tree, that is. (On a side note, in a fit of pique, Gastrell destroyed Shakespeare's home because he didn't like the taxes on it. Quite a piece of work, eh?)

But wait! Brilliant entrepreneurs instead got hold of the mulberry's remains, chopped it into craft-sized pieces, and they started making tchotchkes out of the wood, which they began selling to tourists. To this day, Stratford-Upon-Avon maintains is mercantile charm.

{ Paraphernalia, Just Like Mom Used To Make }

According to The Daily Mail,

A tea caddy carved from a mulberry tree may have been planted by Shakespeare himself has gone under the hammer for £13,000 at auction. The antique - which features a tiny carved bust of the Bard - was whittled out of wood recovered from the famous tree planted outside the playwright's home.

Apparently, Shakespeare planted the tree because landowners were getting in on UK silk production--yet another replacement for import from China that the Emperor was not happy about.

So if you like your Shakespeare, you like your tea, and you like your history: well, too bad you didn't get there first and buy the caddy to add to your collection!