A Beautiful George III Black Japanned & Chinoiserie Decorated Chest of Drawers

Origin: English
Period: George III
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1760 with later components
Height: 32.5 inches
Width: 38.5 inches
Depth: 22.5 inches

The eighteenth century black japanned thick pine carcass chest of three graduated drawers with gilt and polychrome chinoiserie decoration depicting typical oriental figures, pagodas and landscapes and later brass drop ring handles, the sides with further decoration depicting bamboo and fauna, the whole standing on later bracket feet, principally surviving from the third quarter of eighteenth century England.

The condition of the chest is truly country house, i.e. lived in but thoroughly evocative. There are several deficiencies to the lacquer to note; with several scratches, scuffs, old worm and losses though overall it remains an attractive piece in its entirety. There is a very well established patination to the lacquer. The top comprises three pieces and has a huge amount of wear, though attractive, whilst there is a 3-inch section of moulding to the top lacking. We love pieces that show their battle scars and remain in un-restored condition, many of these japanned chests were re-decorated in Victorian times, here we see the original Georgian paint. One side has more wear to its surface, with both flanks decoration faded. The feet are later as are the handles, both being late Victorian period additions, the original feet would also have bore the gilt bordering detail and the handles were intended large, probably bat-wing, with two mounting holes instead of one. Many chests of this era have later additions, simply down to wear over 250 years, commensurate with use. She is structurally stable and her drawers move freely. She is heavy for a relatively small chest, the pine being very thick.

The fine art of chinoiserie has been in existence since the 17th century, and it depicts Chinese style designs applied to furniture, ceramics and fabrics. Chinoiserie is wonderfully beautiful, and tends to depict realistic and fictitious animals, insects, people, foliage, structures and various other elaborate Asian designs that can be incorporated into a number of decorating themes. Antique pieces embellished with Asian-style chinoiserie and high-quality japanning are coated with baked-on layers that look very much like modern-day high-gloss enamel. Chinoiserie that has been japanned is coated with many layers of resin-based gloss and baked dry. Much polishing goes into the true technique of japanning, and high-quality pieces will appear to have deep layers of gloss with the sheen of fine marble, but true antique pieces like this will show signs of age and wear.

Hugely decorative, japanned, well-proportioned and mid-Georgian, this type of chest does not appear on the market all that often.