There was a Tea Case made for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1926. It was made from Grained Leather & contained all necessary accouterments for Making Tea.
In 1875, Sayajirao Gaekwad, a boy of 12, was elevated to the throne of Baroda, today’s Vadodara. In a reign lasting 64 years, the king rolled out a series of reforms and infrastructure projects that helped eclipse the memory of his elder brother’s short but disastrous reign.
While nothing like the profligate spender his brother was, Malharrao is believed to have once commissioned cannons made of solid gold. Sayajirao was a man of fine tastes. In 1890, he moved into the Laxmi Vilas Palace, a gargantuan complex three times as big as Buckingham Palace and staffed by 3,000 permanent staff. The maharaja’s kitchens were run by a Frenchman. When guests stayed at Sayajirao Gaekwad’s palace, they were expected to mark their preference for mode of transport on a gold card. They could choose from elephant, horsew or Rolls Royce.
Sayajirao, by the 1920s, had become an important and faithful client of Louis Vuitton. And one of his most memorable commissions was a tea case, a unique piece made to his requirements. It is believed that the maharaja may have spotted a concept piece in a 1926 issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. The piece appeared in a sketch for the magazine by French artist Bernard Boutet de Monvel.
In 1930, Louis Vuitton delivered its version of this tea case, an elegant and practical piece designed to be compact and yet easy to remove and use. The case contains cups, pots and all the other paraphernalia for a proper cup of tea on the road. While path-breaking at the time, today the piece is easy to identify with. It has the economy of space and packaging that is often seen in modern luggage, consumer electronics and even architecture.