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Master: Rectangular trays

Exquisite examples of Japanese, Chinese and Indian lacquer


Cabinet circa 1705

RCIN 35274

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During the early eighteenth century lacquer was an important and luxurious acquisition; it was usually reserved for the most important spaces. This lacquer cabinet was brought from Japan, in the cargo of an East Indiaman ship, either as part of the British East India Company or traded through the Dutch East India Company. At this time, the Japanese restricted international trade through their port at Decima Island in Nagasaki Bay, trading only with the Dutch and Chinese. Its giltwood stand was made to fit as a support for the cabinet and was almost certainly made by the French cabinet-makers Thomas and René Pelletier. The cabinet and its stand probably furnished the Gallery at Kensington Palace during the reign of Queen Anne, and remained in situ as a highly valued object during subsequent reigns.