Chinese Export Lacquer Cabinet on Stand

 Canton circa 1820

The moulded fern and leaf decorated cornice above two large doors, each with one large and two small panels depicting pagodas and buildings in mountainous and forested landscapes, enclosing a gilt decorated black lacquer interior theatre comprising two large compartments with a shaped superstructure in the form of stylised drapes above two short and two long drawers.  The interior superstructure is extensively decorated with an intricate leaf and tendril design in gilt, while the drawer fronts are more sparsely decorated with branches of fruiting and flowering foliage. The inside of each door displays spectacular gilt aquatic plants emerging from a pond, almost timeless in execution.

The sides each have one long panel similarly decorated to those on the door fronts. All the panels are framed with gilt mouldings and the surrounding background with all over gilt stylised grape leaf and tendril decoration. The separate base has a simple frieze with four square tapering legs all decorated with gilt grape leaf and vine tendrils.

The grape leaf and tendril pattern was commonly used on China Trade lacquerware between 1785-1820 which ties in with the provenance as acquired before 1830.

 Provenance: Captain Richard Alsager (1781-1841) East India Company and then by descent.

Captain Alsager acquired this cabinet during one of his nine voyages to China as a commander in the maritime services of the East India Company. He brought it back, together with other Chinese pieces which he had acquired during his extensive travels, to his home in Surrey around 1830. After retirement from the high seas he was twice elected as Member of Parliament for East Surrey.

There are minor repairs and losses to the gilt on the mouldings which frame the panels and shrinkage repairs to the doors and sides which are to be expected given the age of and nature of this cabinet. Over all it is in remarkably good condition.

 Overall height: 71 ¾” (182cms) width 35 ¾” (91cms) depth 19 ¾” (50 cms)        

Base height       24” (61cms)       width 37”(94cms)      depth 21”     (53.5cms)

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