Chinese Export Lacquer Kneehole Desk or Dressing Table

A RARE CHINESE EXPORT LACQUER KNEEHOLE DESK OR DRESSING TABLE

CANTON CIRCA 1780

In black lacquer with various shades of raised gilt decoration on an overall Chinese lattice work hatched ground, the desk contains eight short and one long drawer with a central shelf set back into the kneehole. Each drawer front is decorated with a central shaped cartouche depicting floral sprays, birds and insects, a fish and a crab and precious objects. The moulded surrounds are decorated with a stylised continuous tendril design.

The top has a large cartouche with raised decoration of floral sprays emerging from ornate vases among birds, insects and other auspicious objects. There are four further cartouches to each corner depicting deer, birds and insects, horses in a landscape and a pair of birds in a forested landscape with a bridge over a stream. There are also a further six smaller seal shaped panels with chimera and other auspicious emblems and two similar of scallop shape.

Each side has one large central cartouche of birds among blossom and fruiting branches surrounded by a further six panels of auspicious emblems.

The back has one large cartouche of a pavilioned landscape with four further cartouches of floral sprays issuing from vases and four smaller circular panels containing auspicious emblems.

The whole is supported on four bracket feet with meandering foliate decoration in gilt.

Traces of age wear and old vertical splits to the reverse.

This charming piece is a rare surviving example of 18Th Century Chinese export lacquer furniture made for the English market.

 Measurements: Width 43”(109.5cm) Depth 20”(50cm) Height 30 ½”(77.5cm)

 


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