These George III ormolu-mounted lacquer cabinets are constructed from earlier late 17th or early 18th century Japanese cabinets of the finest lacquer. Originally made as floor-standing cabinets, they were generally raised on elaborate stands when entering British or European collections, yet these cabinets have retained their original waved plinths and part of their short feet, now hidden behind the 18th century remodelling.
By repute these cabinets were in the collection of the Earls of Ilchester, and although they are not in the latter’s 1948 Christie’s sale, another pair of Japanese black lacquer cabinets was included, from the ‘Swaneries Drawing Room’ of Holland House, the Earl’s London mansion (lot 118).
The adaptation of these Japanese cabinets with Urushi lacquer borders to their present form in circa 1765 - 75 was certainly executed by a prestigious cabinet-maker. The Earl of Ilchester was almost certainly a client of Pierre Langlois (d.1767), of Tottenham Court Road, London, and in 1763 Caroline, 1st Lady Holland wrote to her sister Emily, Countess of Kildare about a present of furniture for their third sister 'I hear she likes L'Anglary's (Langlois) in layd things very much and I should wish to send other typical works'. However other candidates do present themselves. One such is Henry Hill of Marlborough (d. 1778) based on the distinctive pierced angle-mounts found on engraved marquetry commodes attributed to Hill; additionally these all have the characteristic shaped apron (L. Wood, Catalogue of Commodes, London, 1994, no. 4, fig. 55, and another veneered commode, fig. 56). The same angle-mounts and sabots are additionally found on a George III amaranth, cocus-wood and engraved marquetry bedside commode, sold Christie’s, New York, 25 April 2008, lot 84, and another commode formerly with Jeremy Ltd., illustrated ibid., fig. 160.