This exceptional screen is remarkable in its history which has recently seen a reuniting of its two halves which have almost certainly been separated since the left six panels were purchased by Sir Nathaniel Curzon in 1733. These six panels are almost certainly the lot described as 'a six-leaf India Japan Screen, 9 feet high...£25.0.0.' in the sale of the contents of Sir William Stanhope's London home at Albermarle Street, 27 April 1733, lot 8. Sir Nathaniel Curzon (d.1758), who inherited Kedleston House in 1727, purchased 28 lots in this sale for £257.7.0 as recorded in an account book at Kedleston dated 4 May 1733. According to the curator at Kedleston, the purchases at this sale may have initially been delivered to a 66 Brook Street London home that Sir Nathaniel had leased in 1731. It may have been transfered to Kedleston upon the succession of his son, Lord Scarsdale, in 1758 when Kedleston was being refurbished by the architect, Robert Adam. The six panels are recorded in the 1904 inventory in the Crimson Attic Dressing Room (one of the semi-state rooms in the northwest corner of the main block) as 'Chinese Screen 6 folds'. A more full description appears in the 1916 inventory as follows: 'Chinese lacquer Screen, composed of six leaves (the remainder missing) finely carved with an audience of a Mandarin boys and other figures, in a landscape with a river, trees 6 pagodas. Characters round the borders and on reverse side; the decoration is enriched with bright polychromatic colours & the characters are gilt. Kang-He 111 in. high'. At this time, the screen was located in the principle dressing room (now called the Boudoir) in the southwest corner of the main block, adjacent to the State Bedroom. Most recently, the screen was located in the northwest quadrant (called the Porcelain Corridor) until it was sold in the Christie's sale, 19 June 1980 along with other furniture from the Kedleston Trust.
The extensive colophon on the reverse of the screen is followed by felicitations composed by Ni Junming dedicated to Dr. Ci on his entering public service as Head of the Department of Operations in the Ministry of War, followed by the names of the contributors.