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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 203



    Price Realised  


    Decorated in polychrome on an aubergine ground with two doors with elegant figures among pavilions, the sides with exotic birds and dense foliage, enclosing twelve variously-sized drawers decorated with flower-filled vases and foliage and mounted with engraved brass hinges and lockplates, the ebonised two-tier stand with a frieze carved with putti supporting a lion-centred shield, on scrolled supports joined by a pierced stretcher, with Chinese characters inscribed on the carcase
    60¼ in. (153 cm.) high; 33 in. (84 cm.) wide; 18½ in. (47 cm.) deep

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    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.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    J.S. Sykes, Esq.


    R.W. Symonds, Masterpieces of English Furniture and Clocks, London, 1940, p. 82 - 83, figs. 54 and 55.