This is a very rare Henry Clay papier-mache two compartment oval tea caddy painted throughout with a marine scene. Although Henry Clay was known to produce this style of painted tea caddy, these were normally painted with a landscape scene, and this is the only example we can trace that has been painted with a marine scene. Henry Clay applied for a patent for heat resistant panels of laminated paper in 1772, a technique generally called 'papier-mache', which was introduced into England, probably from France, in the late 17th century. This invention was initially called 'paper ware' and grew from a local craft to a large-scale international industry. Clay described himself on his trade card as Japanner in ordinary to his Majesty and to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales' and specialized in small japanned items, such as tea-caddies and trays. Clay moved to London in 1802, where the company remained active until 1860. Clay's Birmingham branch was purchased in 1816 by the firm Jennens & Bettridge.