These twelve-foot-tall, two-ton bronze doors were commissioned by Peter C. Larkin, founder of the Salada Tea Company, to celebrate his industry’s storied past.
In 1927, these elaborate doors were installed at the Salada Tea Headquarters in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. The Toronto company was founded in 1892, by Larkin, who sold the first tea packaged in foil, thus paving the way for the modern tea bag. Salada was so successful that the company eventually moved from Toronto to Boston in 1917, into a custom building designed by the architects Densmore and LeClear.
The doors were designed by sculptor Henry Wilson and feature ten panels telling the story of the exotic origins of tea. They depict scenes including Ceylonese famers harvesting, sorting and drying tea leaves, workers transporting tea boxes on their heads, elephants carrying tea boxes, and tea being loaded onto ships. The outer doorframe, carved by artist Caesar Caira, includes pilasters of stylized Asian women, a frieze featuring elephants, and high-relief statues of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, with her children. In 1927, the doors won a silver medal at the Paris Salon for their exquisite craftsmenship.
The building has been sold many times over the years, but the doors still stand. A piece of impressive public art in the middle of the bustling city.
Know Before You Go
Go to 330 Stuart St. in Boston and view these lavish doors.