Such Japanese lacquer panels are likely to have been executed in Deshima, Nagasaki, to the order of Dutch trading directors such as Commander Isaac Titsingh, Opperhoofd of The Dutch East India Company [VOC] in 1780 and 1782-84 and Baron Johan van Reede tot de Parkeler, Opperhoofd in 1786 and 1788-89. In 1793 Baron van Reede sent a collection of Japanese objects to his father in the Netherlands. In the detailed list he drew up, there is reference to 'two oval portraits of Frederick II, one of which is lacquered with colours...'. Besides such portrait plaques, topographical views of European and Oriental subjects based on prints were also executed.
Four smaller panels in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, showing scenes from the Battle of Doggerbank (1781) are inscribed Verlakt bij Sasaya in Japan AD 1792 (Lacquered at Sasaya in Japan AD 1792) and are derived from a series of nineteen engravings by Fredrik Murat, published 1782.
O. Impey & C. Jorg divide these plaques into possible groups of which L'Europe illustré, published in Paris between 1755 and 1765 and compiled by Dreux du Radier, served as a model. Baron Reede commissioned the series in 1788 while head of the Dutch trading commission at Deshima, Nagasaki and others are illustrated in O. Impey & C. Jorg, Japanese Export Lacquer 1580-1850, Amsterdam, 2005, pp. 52-54, figs. 67-78. The plaques may have been presented as diplomatic gifts, as one plaque depicting a view of the River Neva, St Petersburg with the Winter Palace and the Academy of Sciences was given to Catherine II by J. A. Stutzer, the Swedish doctor who had served with the VOC in Deshima in 1787-88 (ibid., p. 52).
A related panel depicting the Dutch fleet following the Battle of Doggerbank, 1781 was sold anonymously, Christie's London, 22 March 1990 (£30,200).