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Master: Rectangular trays

Exquisite examples of Japanese, Chinese and Indian lacquer

Joseph Baumhauer (d. 1772)

Cabinet c.1770

RCIN 35826

King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle

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In eighteenth-century France, ordinary furniture could be purchased directly from ébénistes (cabinet-makers) whereas luxury furniture was sold through marchands-merciers (dealers). This was because marchands-merciers could afford to commission particular pieces, supplying makers with bronze mounts, pietre dure, Sèvres porcelain plaques and Japanese and Chinese lacquer panels to mount onto fashionable furniture forms. This piece includes a central panel of nineteenth-century European imitation lacquer flanked on either side with panels of seventeenth-century Japanese lacquer richly decorated in gilt. Originally, the central panel was decorated with a plaque of Sèvres porcelain. However, the piece was purchased by George IV for Carlton House in 1825 and in 1827 it was restored by Morel & Seddon. The central plaque was consequently removed and replaced with the japanned (made to imitate East Asian lacquer) panel.