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In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries lacquer cabinets were brought to Europe from China. Their exotic and rich decoration made them highly prized pieces and they remained popular for over two hundred years. The giltwood stand for this cabinet was made in England during the previous reign, as indicated by the cipher ‘AR’ (for Anne Regina), probably by the cabinet-makers Thomas and René Pelletier. First recorded in the King’s Writing Closet at Hampton Court, but possibly supplied to Queen Anne, c.1703, for the Gallery at Kensington Palace Cat. 96