Cabinet on stand
A Japanese lacquer cabinet, circa 1650, raised on an English giltwood stand, circa 1675. The cabinet opens with a pair of doors depicting hills, trees and birds in raised gold and silver lacquer on a black background, with similar decoration to the side panels, the back is japanned (probably later). Each door is mounted with six engraved brass hinges, corner mounts and a finely shaped keyhole escutcheon plate. The interior is fitted with ten drawers fronted with Japanese lacquer depicting buildings and foliage, mounted with original loop handles, the square drawers of the lower corners mounted with a lock. The cabinet sits on a very unusual giltwood stand with four legs carved as elephant trunks, each surmounted by a winged cherub's bust, the large front rail centred by a mask with an open-mouth within a cartouche above a foliage swag. A lacquer cabinet on a giltwood stand appears in the Gallery by 1679, first described as an "Indian" cabinet, and later as "fine Japan" (1683). According to George Nix's surviving bills, circa 1730 the stand was regilded and the top lacquer panel of the cabinet was removed and replaced in order to create a lacquer and japanned table (NT 1139748). He substituted the top panel of the cabinet with japanned deal.
Ham House's Inventories, in the Gallery : in 1679: "Indian Cabinet wt a gilt frame carved"; in 1683: "One fine fapan Cabinet wth. a Carved guilt frame". George Nix's bill dated 12 September 1730 : " For making a Table of the Top of the Cabinet, and a neat Japann'd frame for the table [£] 2-15-0". 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.
Rowell 2013: Christopher Rowell (ed.), Ham House, 400 Years of Collecting and Patronage, Yale University Press, New Haven & London 2013, p.283 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, p.134