No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
TASTE FOR LACQUER
Lacquer from China and Japan immediately captured the European imagination from the moment it began to be imported into Europe at the beginning of the 17th century. As a material, lacquer had no equivalent in the West. Its gleaming surface was decorated with figures, flora and fauna with which Europeans could identify, yet their depiction was entirely novel: asymmetrical, stylised, exotic, showing no adherence to accepted rules of single point perspective. With bold, lively designs and rich colours, lacquer became eagerly sought after by collectors. Demand soon far outstripped supply; it was impossible to ship raw lacquer to Europe, so furniture makers had to evolve alternatives, using spirit varnishes. Most lacquer arrived in Europe in the form of cabinets, boxes or folding screens. In the 17th century it was frequently cut up and remade into European shapes, chests, tables, mirror frames etc., often with complete disregard for the coherence of the design. Nor was it unusual for European furniture makers to augment the decoration if they felt there was too much empty space - the judicious addition of an insect or bird helped to make the designs entirely palatable to European taste. Imported lacquer continued to arrive in Europe throughout the 18th century and was incorporated into the fashionable furniture of the day. By carefully removing most of the ground wood from the back of the lacquer panels they could be used like veneer on the serpentine and bombé shapes so fashionable during the Rococo. In France, during the later 18th century the incorporation of bold, simple but striking designs of Japanese lacquer were much admired and exemplified in the work of the most eminent neo-classical ébénistes such as Saunier and Weisweiler. Lacquer exported by Europeans was taken by boat to staging posts on the Indian Coromandel Coast, and the term Coromandel became particularly associated with colourful incised lacquer. The exotic appeal of lacquer and the fashion for Far Eastern styles flourished from the mid-19th century with increasing exposure to wares directly exported from China and Japan. The Empress Eugenie, establishing her Chinese Museum at Fontainebleau in 1863 and keen to recall the passion for lacquer of her predecessor Marie-Antoinette, decorated one wall with lacquer panels cut from two 18th century Chinese screens from the royal garde-meuble. Elsewhere, European manufacturers invested increasing energy into the search for satisfactory ways of imitating the beauties of true lacquer.