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Folding screen

Category

Furniture

Date

circa 1650

Materials

Coromandel lacquer panels, brass hinges

Measurements

171 x 43 x 1.5 cm

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Collection

Ham House, Surrey (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Ham House and Garden, Surrey, London and South East, National Trust

NT 1139776

Summary

A six fold screen with Coromandel lacquer in various colours on black. One side of the screen with a depiction of landscapes with men on foot and horseback hunting fantastic creatures in a typical landscape, the borders along the top and bottom, and to one side, are decorated with gilded dragons. On the other side the panels are decorated with flowering trees and birds, the borders (along the top and bottom and to one side) are decorated with stylised flowers. Stiles extend down from the panels to form the feet, the spaces in between with a horizontal red and black panel. This screen and its companion (NT 1140102, the two screens were originally joined) are made of incised or kuan cai lacquer (traditionally known as Coromandel lacquer, after the Indian coastal region via which it was shipped to Europe), presumably made in China, but depicting Japanese namban (or 'southern barbarian') scenes from the late sixteenth - early seventeenth century, showing European visitors. In combining Chinese lacquer with a Japanese influence they are very unusual pieces. Several "Indian screens" (presumably oriental lacquer) are listed in the Ham House's inventories of 1677, 1679 and 1683.

Provenance

Acquired in 1948 by HM Government when Sir Lyonel, 4th Bt (1854 – 1952) and Sir Cecil Tollemache, 5th Bt (1886 – 1969) presented Ham House to the National Trust, and entrusted to the care of the Victoria & Albert Museum, until 1990, when returned to the care of the National Trust, and to which ownership was transferred in 2002.

References

Thornton and Tomlin 1980 Peter Thornton, and Maurice Tomlin. “The Furnishing and Decoration of Ham House.” Furniture History, The Journal of The Furniture History Society Vol.XVI, 1980, fig 59

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