This 'East India Company' Cantonese lacquered screen, with its golden landscape of Imperial pleasure gardens environed by flower-vase vignettes, is likely to have been brought to Chirk by Robert Myddleton (d.1733). A similar screen, bearing her coat-of-arms, was introduced in the 1720s by Henrietta Howard, 9th Countess of Suffolk (d.1739) at Marble Hill House, Richmond, where it was later inventoried in 1767 (J. Bryant, London's Country House Collections, London, p.70 fig 1).
Sir Thomas Myddelton (d.1631), a merchant adventurer who bought Chirk partially on the back of profits gleaned from the buccaneering expeditions of Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins, was one of the founders of the East India Company. This link between the Myddelton's and the East India Company remained well into the 18th Century - as is testified by both Russell's 'A Collection Concerning the Incorporation, Trade, and Commerce of the East India Company, 1794' (lot 631) and the Export dinner service dating circa 1802, discussed by D. Howard, Chinese Armorial Porcelain, London, 1974, p. 975. It was no doubt through their agency that this screen found its way to Chirk, as had the Japanese lacquer coffer in the Long Gallery a century previously.
This screen is first recorded in the Best Staircase in the 1795 Inventory as '1 Large Japan'd folding Screen 5.0.0'. Subsequently moved into the Saloon, it is visible by the door to the Staircase in the Hon. Mrs Mary Wombwell's watercolour of February 1862 (in an album still owned by the Myddelton family). In the undated 1870's 'Inventory of the Household Goods and Furniture etc. etc. at Chirk Castle', this screen is listed in the State Saloon as a 'Six fold Indian screen'. Following the Castle's lease in 1911 to the Howard de Walden's, the screen remained in the Saloon, where it appears in the family portrait executed in the 1920s by Sir John Lavery (see M. Howard de Walden, Pages from my Life, 1965, p.472).