Such lacquer cabinets, popularised by the East India Company imports via the Coromandel coast, were an important feature of fashionable late 17th Century bedroom apartments and were discussed in J. Stalker and G. Parker's, Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing, Oxford, 1688. A date of 1687 has been recorded on a Chinese lacquer screen with similar palace courtyard scenes (W. de Kesel and C. Dhont, Coromandel Lacquer Screens, 2002, p.23). This fashion for colourful and low-relief cut lacquer was known at the time as 'Bantam-work' being named after the Dutch colony of Batavia in Indonesia. Its stand, japanned in trompe l'oeil black lacquer, has a richly fretted lambrequin displaying an heraldic laurel-wreathed cartouche supported by Cupids; while its stretcher tie is similarly fretted in l7th century fashion with a Cupid head framed by ribbon-tied acanthus festooned with Plenty's garlands of fruit. Its pilasters' serpentined and wave-voluted trusses reflect the Louis Quatorze 'Roman' fashion as featured in a chair pattern issued in Daniel Marot's, Second Livre d'Appartements, 1703.
The unusual two-stage stand is reminiscent of a lacquer table at Ham House, Surrey. This table, listed in a 1679 inventory as 'one table painted black and gould', is made from an apparently Javanese lacquered table, with a lower second stage designed to raise the whole, making it more suitable for use as a tea table with a set of japanned back stools that had been recently introduced (Peter Thornton and Maurice Tomlin, The Furniture and Decoration of Ham House, Furniture History, vol. XVI, 1980, fig. 88). A similar cabinet, though lacking metal escutcheon and corner brackets, was also acquired for Ham House around 1690 (A. Bowett, English Furniture 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne, Woodbridge, 1998, p. 162, pl. 5:30).
This cabinet formed part of the early 20th century collection of antique furniture assembled by Joseph Sassoon Sykes, much of it with advice from the furniture historian R.W. Symonds in the 1930s.