A Chinese export lacquer
tea chest in the abstracted elegant form of a lantern. The main
scenes are framed by elaborate floral designs, which are very well
spaced, allowing for the different central compositions to be
distinguished. The scenes are of figures in gardens. Circa 1835.
Size: It measures 5.8 inches
wide and it is 7.5 inches high
including feet: 14.5 cm wide by by 19 cm high.
Good overall: there has been some cracking of the structure which
has been consolidated. Some rubbing to the decoration of the top. See images. Working lock and key.
The early 19th century was the golden period for the Chinese lacquer
box. The merchants associated with the East India Company were making
vast amounts of money selling opium to the Chinese, albeit at times by
circuitous ways. More money was available for buying Chinese treasures
to satisfy the demand for the increasingly prosperous people at home.
In addition to individually commissioned boxes, a number of
additional boxes were bought with a view to selling them in England .
They were also sold to other European countries from the London bonded
warehouses of the Company. The Cathay style had already captured the
imagination of the European beau monde. A whimsical oriental
style had already been set in motion by such arbiters of fashion as the
Prince Regent himself. This led to significant stylistic and thematic
developments in the decoration of lacquer boxes during the first decades
of the 19th century.