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Screen part

Category

Furniture

Date

1662 - 1722

Materials

Coromandel wood, lacquer and metal

Measurements

2210 x 5080 mm

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Collection

Erddig, Wrexham (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Erddig, Wrexham, Wales, National Trust

NT 1147113.1

Caption

This Chinese lacquered screen is thought to be a rare surviving piece of furniture from the tenure of Erddig's builder, Joshua Edisbury. Its six sides are beautifully decorated, depicting travellers and exotic wildlife in a mountainous landscape. It is recorded in a 1682 letter from Elihu Yale (in whose name the famous American University was founded) to Edisbury's wife. The screen was a gift in response to Joshua Edisbury sending Yale 74 gallons of ale! The rising star Yale had grown up on a neighbouring estate and Edisbury was keen to impress him. However, the friendship did not last; when Edisbury characteristically over-stretched his finances in the 1690s Yale decided to call in a loan he had previously provided, complete with crippling interest. Edisbury was eventually declared bankrupt in 1709 and Erddig put up for sale. It is testament to the screen's beauty that it has been so treasured by Edisbury's successors and survived in excellent condition ever since.

Summary

A screen. It is part of a Chinese Kangxi, coromandel, lacquered screen, probably once the property of Elihu Yale. The six panels are decorated on the front in polychrome with a continuous design depicting travellers, hunters and soldiers in a mountainous riverscape. The borders have shaped panels filled with utensils and vases of flowers within trellised surrounds. The reverse is decorated with exotic birds and water fowl in a mountainous riverscape beneath cloud bands. The borders on the reverse have shaped panels filled with travellers, sages, birds, horses and gardens again within similar trellised surrounds.

Provenance

According to family tradition this screen was once the property of Elihu Yale and was a gift to Joshua Edisbury's wife, Grace Delves.

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